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Thursday, June 22, 2006

One Trusts This One Will Be Better

Actually, this wasn’t the book I was planning to write next. I started a different book, the one I’m writing now, which is actually set in a hotel-restaurant kitchen in London and in the north of England. But I kept starting the first chapter, trying to force myself to focus in one particular direction, and all I could think about were the Alentejos, this region in Portugal where I’d been spending quite a lot of time. A series of images kept going off: an old man in a black felt fedora, a young local girl texting her boyfriend on her mobile phone and a man with a suitcase who was always walking away from me, although I didn’t know who he was or where he was going. In the end, I thought, “If you’re feeling a compulsion to write about something, the thing to do is to go with it.”

- Monica Ali on Alentejo Blue


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