All Things Amy started out as a fifteen-year-old’s not-so-private space to ignite a passion for writing about reading.
I started this blog on a long-lost Blogspot account almost a decade ago. Although I’ve moved on to different things, sometimes I come back here to reflect, to play, to dance in the siren song that started it all: a call to use my voice and see who might listen.
Access the archives below.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is Christy Lefteri’s second novel, drawing on the stories of displacement and devastation with which she came into contact as a volunteer at a refugee centre in Athens. Herself the daughter of two Turkish refugees, Lefteri has an uncanny familiarity with themes of loss, nostalgia and exile – as well as a sensitivity to the ways in which the deeply personal element of these stories may be lost to sensationalised reports of faceless brutality. Her writing is in many ways a response to those senseless media portrayals and crisis imagery that can cause further damage to a population already vulnerable to extreme violence and prejudice…
Today we are supposed to remember women in action: the beat of more than 20,000 feet marching toward the Union Buildings, the vision of women standing together in solidarity, the rallying cry of Wathint’abafazi, wathint’imbokodo. But how are we to bring this history into focus when our present moment is distorted by screams? How are we to echo the timeless words of protest when they conjure up memories of our bruised and bloodied bodies? It is a brutal irony, of course, that our protest song threatens the abuser with death, uza kufa!, while so many of these murderers walk free. Because we are not rocks, however much we wish we were. When we are beaten, we cry out. We bleed. We die.
Most people are in some part familiar with the story of “America’s shining women” – the dial painters of the First World War that are at once symbolic of a new wave of women’s liberation and horrific treatment in the workplace. My knowledge of the radium girls was largely limited to the legend of poisoned women whose corpses are still radioactive a century later, glowing bones in lead-lined coffins. I was completely, irrevocably unprepared for the harrowing tale of these women’s fight for justice against an institution determined to silence them by any means necessary.
Over the past few years, my friends (and even, once, the poor souls in my Literature Honours class) have been subjected to extensive lectures about the mastery of N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy. I tend to wax lyrical about the magnificence of her world building, her characters and their exquisite development, her enthralling plots… practically every single element of her writing. And despite that, when it comes to writing a review of her latest novel, The City We Became, I’m struggling to find words that carry more weight than “life-changing”.
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