It’s been some time since a book has engrossed me so much I carry it everywhere with me in order to greedily snatch a few minutes read between classes or in the supermarket queue. The last book that absorbed me so completely was We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver’s disturbing tale of the relationship between a mother and her murderous son, and that was a whole year ago. Since then I’ve come across good books, great books even, but none which have had me reading open mouthed. Until now.
Vikram Seth is my favourite author. Upon finishing his novel A Suitable Boy I cried for hours purely because it had ended. Simply couldn’t believe the characters he had created were no longer going to be a part of my life. My solution was simply to start reading the book again! Have thoroughly enjoyed his other works (which include a travelogue and a novel in verse) and so it is a complete mystery as to why, despite having bought it six months ago, it has taken me until the last few days to start reading his most recent work.
Spanning almost a hundred years and several continents, Two Lives is the true story of Seth’s German aunt and Indian uncle. True to form, the author manages not only to paint remarkably vivid impressions of the central characters but also of the times they lived in. I’m only, perhaps, a quarter of the way through the book but it’s already lodged itself into my all-time favourite list. Would tell you more but I want to keep on reading! Instead, in its honour, I give you a recipe for Indian spiced prawns. It’s a Wendy-creation rather than an authentically Asian dish but it tastes damn good.
Indian Spiced King Prawns
(Serves 4 as a starter)
16 peeled and deveined prawns
1/4 tsp cayenne
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
4 tblspn olive oil
Lemon wedges and fresh coriander leaves to serve
- Create a marinade using the spices and olive oil.
Add the prawns and coat well. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Cook on a medium-hot griddle pan for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Serve with lemon wedges and coriander.
Excuse my silence over the next four days. Off to Aberdeenshire to see family, friends, my darling Rosie and a host of other canines. Watch this space for dog photos! :)