Updated 26 December: I don’t have too much time just to sit down and read a book. It’s a luxury, so it’s one I take seriously, and only pick up books I think I’m going to like. Sometimes that’s a disappointment, other times a book expected to be good turns out indeed to be a good book, but other times a book turns out to be a delightful surprise! And so it is with A Shark in the Bath!
My expectations weren’t all that high because although I expected it to be well written, and a subject of interest because Tenerife-based, I’m just not a short story type of reader. But even though I value my reading time I decided I’d give it a chance this Christmas, the first time I had to do so since I got my copy in September. And what a joy it’s been to lose myself in it this Christmas!
It’s indeed well written, and it’s of course based in and around Tenerife, but it’s like a step into the past of the island and its characters which shows, not just tells, what the island was like when early telephone exchanges were (wo)manned by local info-gatherers (gossips!), and how today’s arrivals in cayucos and pateras are the inverse of the Canarian exodus to Venezuela … not that long ago. And if you don’t find a tear dropping when you read of Marta and Domingo’s reunion then you’ve a heart of stone!
This is a little gem of a book. Charming, comfortable, familiar, and about a Tenerife we all think we know but which has hidden “rincones” and a recent history and development that is simply breathtaking … and brought alive by the light John Reid so sensitively and sympathetically shines on it. It’s helped make my Christmas, so I hope it helps persuade you to pick it up if you haven’t already!
Original post 9 August: Reid is a popular local author known for The Skipping Verger and Other Tales, and the collection of short stories now has a follow-up with A Shark in the Bath and Other Stories (Tenerife Tales). It’s been reviewed in the Canarian press – see El Día HERE – and can be bought from Amazon HERE.