Press "Enter" to skip to content

Practice by Rosalind Brown review – tea, yoga and sonnets

The minutiae of a day in the life of a mostly happy student are brilliantly conveyed in this wryly comic debut

This debut novel follows a day in the life of Annabel, an Oxford student writing an essay about Shakespeare’s sonnets. She wakes and makes tea, works on the essay, meditates, does yoga, works a little more, takes walks, has memories and fantasies, eats in the dining hall, talks to her boyfriend on the phone. The book ends as the day ends. For most of the novel, she’s alone in her room. It is an uneventful day in a safe, cocooned, mostly uneventful life.

The great strength of Practice is Brown’s gift for the romance of the quotidian. Annabel is absorbed by the minutiae of her day: the “building roar” of the electric kettle, the growing pressure in her bladder, her ephemeral **** on seeing lines of muscle sharpening in a passing runner’s calves. She takes pleasure in using the same peppermint teabag twice, “As if there might be something in it she missed the first time around … she enjoys riding the spectrum from what is officially peppermint tea through something more like flavoured, tinged water. To travel in a lonely country most people wouldn’t call tea.”

Dr. Richard French, 36 years old, general practitioner, he did electives in emergency wards and watched people die on operating tables, he prescribes opiates every day and briskly comforts old ladies, and once in his kitchen he took his stethoscope and slid the cold disc under her bra so she gasped, and he smiled – but he’s afraid of her, ain’t that the truth, he ***** her holding his breath.

Continue reading…

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply