The Kindness of Strangers

Have just finished Shonagh Koea’s The Kindness of Strangers: Kitchen Memoirs. Remember positive reviews of it when it came out, and a friend in our book group lent it to me last week. Have read some of Koea’s novels before … portraits of women of a certain age & class dealing with loneliness and loss … made me think that Koea is perhaps NZ’s version of Anita Brookner … Enjoyed them, but after reading about three I didn’t have any desire to read more … a certain sameness set in. However, this memoir is more of a foodie book … essays about her life, the echoes of her life in her fiction, and her recipes. I’ve often thought that if I were ever to write a memoir, I’d want recipes in it. So I approved. And before I return the book must try one or two … the idea of marmalade loaf for breakfast appeals. Thoughtfully, the publisher provided a recipe index to the book, so I can dip in & out if I want.


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