Today I’m delighted to welcome short story writer Amanda Huggins. Her ‘Porridge & Cream’ read is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
“There was strong competition for my Porridge and Cream choice, and I’d just like to mention two of the worthy runners-up, both of which I return to time and time again. The wonderful Jane Eyre needs no introduction or explanation, and has been in my top ten since I was a teenager. Another contender was The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, which I’ve loved since first reading it in the 1980s. A beautifully written story of a life lost to duty; unsentimental and utterly heartbreaking. But my final choice has to be The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, one of the all-time bestselling – and most translated – books ever published.
“I own a signed copy of The Remains of the Day as well as a Folio hardback, and I also have two copies of Jane Eyre – though sadly neither of them are signed! But I have to confess to owning a rather extravagant seven copies of The Little Prince. In my defence, they’re all in different languages – however, as I’m only fluent in English, it’s a pretty poor defence!”
“For those unfamiliar with The Little Prince, the narrator is a pilot who has crashed in the desert. A young boy – nicknamed ‘the little prince’ – appears unexpectedly out of nowhere, and while the pilot repairs his plane, the prince describes his tiny home planet – asteroid B612 – complete with volcanoes and baobab trees, and recounts the tales of his travels to other planets. It draws on de Saint-Exupéry’s own experiences as a pilot in the Sahara, as well as including a character (the vain rose) based on his wife, Consuelo. With great wisdom and poignancy, and accompanied by his own beautiful illustrations, de Saint-Exupéry teaches us about friendship, loneliness, love and loss, about human frailties and greed. The beauty and sadness of the prince’s encounter with the fox always leaves me in tears, and includes one of my favourite lines: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Amanda Huggins is the award-winning author of the short story collection, Separated From the Sea (Retreat West Books), which received a Special Mention at the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Her second collection, Scratched Enamel Heart, contains the Costa prize-winning story, ‘Red’, and was launched on 27th May. She has also published a flash fiction collection, Brightly Coloured Horses (Chapeltown Books), and a poetry collection, The Collective Nouns for Birds (Maytree Press). As well as winning third prize in the 2018 Costa Short Story Award, she has been placed and listed in Fish, Bridport, Bath, the Alpine Fellowship Writing Award and the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award. Her travel writing has also won several awards, notably the BGTW New Travel Writer of the Year in 2014. Her first novella, All Our Squandered Beauty, will be published in 2021 by Victorina Press.
Amanda grew up on the North Yorkshire coast, moved to London in the 1990s, and now lives in West Yorkshire.
Amanda’s latest book
A lonely woman spends a perfect night with a stranger, yet is their connection enough to make her realise life is worth living? Maya, a refugee, wears a bracelet strung with charms that are a lifeline to her past; when the past catches up with her, she has a difficult decision to make. Rowe’s life on the Yorkshire coast is already mapped out for him, but when there is an accident at the steelworks he knows he has to flee from an intolerable future. In the Costa prize-winning ‘Red’, Mollie is desperate to leave Oakridge Farm and her abusive stepfather, to walk free with the stray dog she has named Hal. These are stories filled with yearning and hope, the search for connection and the longing to escape. They transport the reader from India to Japan, from mid-west America to the north-east coast of England, from New York to London. Battered, bruised, jaded or jilted, the human heart somehow endures.
BUY THE BOOK
What is a ‘Porridge & Cream’ book? It’s the book you turn to when you need a familiar read, when you are tired, ill, or out-of-sorts, where you know the story and love it. Where reading it is like slipping on your oldest, scruffiest slippers after walking for miles. Where does the name ‘Porridge & Cream’ come from? Cat Deerborn is a character in Susan Hill’s ‘Simon Serrailler’ detective series. Cat is a hard-worked GP, a widow with two children and she struggles from day-to-day. One night, after a particularly difficult day, she needs something familiar to read. From her bookshelf she selects ‘Love in A Cold Climate’ by Nancy Mitford. Do you have a favourite read which you return to again and again? If so, please send me a message.
Discover the ‘Porridge & Cream’ books of these authors:-
Ivy Logan’s choice is ‘Reckless’ by Cornelia Funke
Lev D Lewis chooses ‘Rogue Male’ by Geoffrey Household
‘Wise Children’ by Angela Carter is chosen by Catherine Hokin
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why does short story author @troutiemcfish re-read THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4CR via @SandraDanby