Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rodaan Al Galidi's new novel: The Autist and the Homing Pigeon

At the age of seventeen, Janine got pregnant at a party in a shed. An accident. ‘The sex wasn’t unsafe,’ she always says, ‘just unpleasant’. Her son Gareth is an autistic genius. As her parent are extremely religious and she doesn’t know – or want to know – which of the boys in the shed was the father, she feels she has to be mother, father, grandmother, grandfather and an entire family for her child. Genius Gareth doesn’t realise he is an anchor for the ship that is her life. When his mother asks him if he is going to find a bedsit, he asks, surprised, ‘Is a bedsit big enough for both of us?’ The son doesn’t let go of the mother. His possession of Janine lasts thirty-seven years.
She works in the charity shop opposite where they live, where Gareth spends his evenings and days off. When Gareth becomes a famous violin maker, Janine tells him it’s time he left home. In his new house, where a pigeon fancier lived before him, a homing pigeon opens up the world for Gareth.
Every time Gareth advertises the cock-pigeon on the Internet, free of charge if you come and get him, he comes back, and so he keeps meeting new people. To make sure the pigeon doesn’t come back, he even takes it to the most southerly point of the country. But he comes back and changes Gareth’s life forever.

No comments: