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Book: Kingfisher Blue by Leela Dutt

Book: Kingfisher Blue by Leela Dutt

categories: Book, Quakers, Canadian Summer Camp, Sailing, Conscientious Objector, Pet Snake, Cross-Dressing, The Burma Railway, Short Stories


Leela Dutt

Author Leela Duttabout this book: This is a collection of eight short stories about imaginary Quakers and others, aged from 22 to 90, dealing with divorce, death, drains and stuff like that. There've been some fabulous responses to these stories, none better than from a man in an English prison who wrote recently that if it were possible he would have hugged the last story in the book, "I Shall Spend My Pension On Brandy". Clearly he identified with all the different characters in this last story, which is about the ninetieth birthday celebrations of a Quaker woman. "Leela Dutt's writing ranges from the poignant to the blackly comical… She has a particular talent for portraying characters whom the reader will find immediately familiar." (The Big Issue Cymru)

Lots of different events inspired this book; a man involved in the Troubles of Northern Ireland had to escape to Wales in a hurry and was helped by a local Quaker Meeting to find a home and furnishings for his family, which led some of those involved to apply for membership of the Quakers. Another event: some children were snatched from their families on Orkney because someone had made up lies about what Quakers got up to, and the police were extremely suspicious – so in this story a retired Quaker woman is accused of murder. The cover is drawn by Kate Attfield, and illustrates the first story in the book, which is told by the surviving partner of a man who died of AIDS; this partner is now a life-guard in a Quaker camp in Canada, and explains that everyone at the funeral had to wear kingfisher blue.

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