Upper Norwood book club sets off down the Red Dust Road

The Upper Norwood Library has chosen Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay for its Book Club tomorrow, September 27.

Red dust roadThe library’s book club meets for an hour from 2.30pm one Saturday a month to dissect and debate a book over a hot cuppa and a baked goodies. Everyone is welcome.

Local book shop The Bookseller Crow on Westow Street is supporting the library by offering £1 off the price of the paperback edition of the chosen book. Readers need only mention the Upper Norwood Library Book Club and show their library card to benefit.

Jackie Kay burst on to the literary scene in 1991 with her much-praised first poetry collection The Adoption Papers, at the heart of which were poems about her adoption by white Scottish parents in 1961. Nearly 20 years later, her memoir Red Dust Road covers similar terrain, except that in the intervening years the mystery about her origins has been replaced with unforgettable scenes of her encounters with her birth parents.

The book opens with Kay, now in her 40s, waiting for the Nigerian father she has never met to turn up at a hotel in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Yet as soon as he arrives he whisks her off to her room and spends two hours trying to convert her to Christianity amid much “clapping and foot-tapping and spinning and reciting and shouting to God Almighty”.

It turns out that her father, a preacher, wants to cleanse her of his past sin. “I realise with fresh horror that Jonathan is seeing me as the sin, me as impure, me the bastard, illegitimate.

“He’s like a bad poet who doesn’t know when to quit, reading one poem after another to a comatose audience.”

  • The Upper Norwood Library’s October Book Club, meeting at 2.30pm on October 25, will be discussing Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson. The discount on book sales at the Bookseller Crow applies.

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