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Moving mountains

Book Quote

There was a buzz of foreign languages around them, and to Harry it seemed as if he were swimming through a maelstrom of different nationalities, complexions and apparel.

– Excerpt from The Bat by Jo Nesbø

Book Review – “The Bat” by Jo Nesbø

THE FIRST HARRY HOLE THRILLER

HARRY IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH

Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl on a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can.

HE’S NOT SUPPOSED TO GET TOO INVOLVED

When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will only talk to Harry.

… BUT HE MIGHT JUST BE THE NEXT VICTIM

———-

I’ll comment first on the book’s title…

If there’s anything I’ve learnt from reading Jo Nesbø’s novels is that the man does a great job at coming up with cleverly thought titles. And this one was no exception. Towards the beginning of the novel, we read about the Australian Aboriginal take on the story of creation – “the Dreaming” – and the fall of Man – “The Coming of Death” – where Narahdarn the Bat (the equivalent of the devil as a snake in the Bible, in the story of Adam and Eve) is released into the world after the first woman attempts to take honey from the “sacred tree”. And I’m quite certain that that’s where Nesbø got his book title inspiration from. The bat being the Aboriginal symbol of death; and “death” being a metaphorical reference to the novel’s main antagonist.

On to the story itself…

Before Harry took on the neo-Nazi gangs of Oslo, before he met Rakel, before The Snowman tried to take everything he held dear, he went to Australia. The Bat takes us back to Harry Hole’s early days as a police officer, where he’s sent to Sydney to aid in the murder investigation of Inger Holter, a young Norwegian girl, who was working in a bar.

We get to see a different Harry Hole, at first, in this novel. It seems he has less of a burden upon his shoulders; free of worries and troubles.  We also learn about how a horrific car accident, several years earlier, involving Harry and his best friend, has left him a teetotaller. However, those booze-less days are short-lived as another friend of his is found dead, which leads Harry down the dark path of alcoholism once again.

This, however, does not stop him from solving the case, because as the book progresses, Harry does more than just help out. He ends up taking charge of the entire investigation himself.

The Australian Aboriginals, their cultures, and their stories and myths – The Dreamtime – also feature prominently in the book. And no, these have nothing to do with bedtime stories that parents read to their kids. Dreamtime stories reveal the Aboriginal understanding of why the world operates in the way that it does. The Dreamtime, according to the Aboriginals, is the beginning of all the world’s knowledge, and from this, laws came into existence that must be observed in order to survive. I must add, I had never heard of these tales, before, so it was very interesting to read about them.

The short chapters made this book more fast-paced, which added to the slow build-up of suspense leading up to the nail-biter of an ending.

My review doesn’t finish there, though, as I’ve got some bonus content for you, dear readers.

I came across a few song references whilst reading The Bat. So, just for fun, I took the liberty of creating a Spotify playlist with the songs mentioned in the book. Feel free to check it out by clicking here. This is something I’ll definitely be doing again in the future, with other books I read. Hopefully the playlists will be longer, though.

My rating:

4-out-of-5-stars-rating

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Words of the Day

  • alacrity” (noun) – Brisk and cheerful readiness; eagerness or enthusiasm

Example: The boy jumped up and down with alacrity as he inched closer to the candy store.

  • camaraderie” (noun) – Good friendship and trust among members of a group

Example: The football players had a sense of camaraderie which made them an unbeatable team.

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Observations

Here are some of the things I observed over the past few weeks:

 

Date: 1st June 2017

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Place: Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport

Observation: A group of seven young women had just arrived from the U.K., all wearing white dresses, with sashes draping from shoulder to hip. A second or two later I noticed that they were in fact wedding sashes, as each one had written on it the role that that woman will have during the bride’s wedding. So much for a hen party. These beautifully-dressed ladies were on a hen holiday!

 

Date: 1st June 2017

Time: 10:45 p.m.

Place: Ryanair flight to Tenerife

Observation: Probably the best cabin crew I’ve encountered during my travels, so far. They are the true meaning of the phrase “service with a smile”, with a very friendly approach, even sharing the occasional joke or two with passengers and between themselves, too. I won’t forget, for instance, the way the air hostess dealt with a crying baby girl during the plane’s descent. She asked the parents if she could hold the girl, and they let her. The air hostess walked up and down the aisle, holding the baby in her arms as if she were her own, whistling tunes and cradling the adorable bundle of joy, until she eventually calmed down. Another cool thing I noticed on this flight was the way the cabin crew members communicated with each other whenever they needed to get more ice from the freezer compartment. This was the procedure: one member would be towards the back or front of the plane. The other, who’s in the aisle with the cart, would press the bell button on the panel above the passenger’s head, drawing the attention of the crew member who’s in the front/back. The aisle cabin crew member would then point towards their own eyes using two fingers – their index and middle finger – meaning that they need more ice. Get it? Them pointing towards their eyes whenever they needed ice. Yeah, I know, it’s not exactly grammatically correct. They are two words which are spelled differently. However, they sound very similar. But hey, the message definitely got across.

 

Date: 12th June 2017

Time: 4:35 p.m.

Place: Valletta, Malta

Observation: Whilst waiting for the bus to arrive, I noticed that the young lady standing next to me was holding a book and a pink towel. My interest piqued shortly after, when I noticed that the book she held in her hand was none other than Fifty Shades of Grey. To be more precise, Geheimes Verlangen, the German translation of the book, which led me to assume that she was German herself. I could also see that she had recently started reading it, as she was still only a couple of chapters or so into the book. Another small observation I made was that she didn’t use a bookmark. She just opened the book up, and leafed through the pages until she got to where she had last left off. I find myself intrigued whenever I see a person reading one of the novels from this trilogy, as it always raises the same bunch of questions in my head; are they simply reading it for fun? Or is there another reason, perhaps? Do they picture themselves instead of the submissive Anastasia Steele, being with the heartthrob dominant Christian Grey? Or is it the other way around? Do they see themselves as being the dominant one? Do they find any of the explicit sex scenes mentioned in the book pleasurable? Do they fantasise about it? Right, OK, I’ll stop there, as I’m beginning to sound like a mini Freud. 😜

– Preston Carbonaro

Words of the Day

  • accrue” (verb) – Accumulate or receive over time

Example: I thought I was getting a good deal, but as the hidden fees began to accrue I found I was actually paying more.

  • adulation” (noun) – Excessive admiration or praise

Example: Although Jason was a famous celebrity, he was very uncomfortable with the adulation from his fans.

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Words of the Day

  • dive” (noun) – A shabby or sleazy bar or similar establishment

Example: They got into a fight in some dive.

  • subsist” (verb) – To live on, to nourish oneself on

Example: The prisoners of war were forced to subsist upon bread and water.

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Contesting the 2017 M.F.R.A. Election

I was very surprised, last week, when I received a text from the Malta Football Referees Association vice president, asking me whether I’d be interested in being a committee member with the organisation from the upcoming season. I accepted, of course.
And so, I just wanted to share with you the message I have for my fellow refereeing friends.
———-
Dear colleagues,
Last week, I was asked if I would be interested in joining the MFRA as a committee member for 2017/18. I accepted right away, without a moment’s hesitation.
This, my friends, will be a great opportunity mostly for you, not me.
Why, and how, you ask?
The answer is simple. You are the voice of the refereeing community. You have the power to make a change. You are the change.
With my help, you will get a better chance at getting your opinions and ideas across to the other members, so they can be discussed. And you can rest assured that I will be there to listen anytime.
Before continuing any further, I want to make one thing clear. Regardless of whether I get elected or not, this Monday, I promise you that I will keep giving my all in order to make our voices heard. As I’ve done over the past few months.
Below, are the main proposals which I have on my agenda:
– Number one priority is to improve safety and security standards during all football matches, at all stadiums, especially when it comes to youth matches. The two people who were with me when we met with Pierre Bonnici know that there’s already an excellent idea for an anti-abuse campaign, which is set to roll out from the upcoming season, in order to tackle the worrisome problem of abuse towards referees. Especially towards the younger officials, in the grassroots sector.
– A drastic change in the disciplinary procedures. Although I’ve been told several times that this is easier said than done, I assure you that I will not give up so easily on it. Unless we see a change in the way disciplinary decisions are taken by the respective boards, cases of abuse – be they physical or verbal – will continue. We truly need a zero tolerance approach to any kind of abuse. The way things are right now, people who deserve a harsh comeuppance are simply getting away with murder!
I’ve paired up the third and fourth points into one, as I believe they go hand in hand with one another:
– Transparency, and better communication within the whole of the refereeing sector. Without one, you can’t have the other. If there isn’t a sense of transparency, or an open book policy, among members of the MFRA, MFA and us referees, then there wouldn’t be good communication. And vice-versa. It’s no big secret that there are still some personal vendettas within the two organisations, and this only sets us back. We have to put a stop to this as soon as possible, because it is utterly unprofessional. Yes, granted, we all have our differences; we don’t all think the same way or have the same opinions. But it’s a matter of putting those differences aside, and working together as a whole, as one, in order to build better, stronger relationships with each other. Ultimately, both the MFRA and the MFA should be working together for the good of its referees, and Maltese football in general.
Whilst looking forward to meeting most of you during this Monday’s meeting/election, I thank you for taking the time to read my message.
Sincerely,
Preston Carbonaro
———-

Words of the Day

  • cogent” (adjective) – (of an argument or case) Clear, logical, and convincing

Example: Because the child was so young, I worked hard to give her cogent answers to her questions.

  • circumlocutions” (noun) – The use of many words where fewer would do, especially in a deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive

Example: Sneaky people who want others to be fooled by their words often use circumlocution to hide their true purposes.

 

– Preston Carbonaro

Tenerife – Day 5

 

Our holiday in Tenerife has come to an end, sadly.

This past week has truly been fantastic. Getting to see and live in a place where I’ve never been before, seeing family members again after a long time, meeting new people, exploring the island, making more memories, taking plenty of pictures, and of course… lots of laughs!

Although I used to stay up very late in order to write my daily blog posts, it’s been awesome to have shared with you my everyday adventures in Tenerife, these past five days. And I hope that you enjoyed the posts, in some way or another, as much as I liked writing them. I’ll be sure to do something like this again, the next time I go abroad.

Before I go, I’d like to let you all know that, apart from a Words of the Day post which I’ve scheduled for later today, you’ll be hearing from me again when I’m back in Malta, tomorrow, the 7th of June.

Tenerife, you’ve been great!

My fellow followers, and dear readers, from here I bid you adios!

– Preston Carbonaro

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