All posts tagged: Mathilde Merouani

Friday Reads: February 2023


Welcome back to Friday Reads! Here in Western Mass, a frigid February is upon us—a perfect excuse to stay inside with a good book. Need help finding that perfect read? Look no further than these recommendations from The Common’s contributors. 

The cover of Anne Enright's Actress: a red-haired woman against a turquoise background.Anne Enright’s Actress, recommended by Mathilde Merouani (contributor)

I think Anne Enright should be a superstar. Not that Anne Enright works in obscurity—her 2007 novel The Gathering won the Booker Prize. But if there was any justice to literary success, there would be think-pieces about whether Anne Enright is overrated. People would be so used to hearing that Anne Enright is one of the greats that, in their suspicion, they’d assume she must be too mainstream to be good. But then they’d read her and discover that she is, actually, one of the greats; they would see in her impeccable prose the perfect balance of comedy and tragedy that makes the tragic a little funny and the comic a little sad. If I had it my way, Anne Enright would have to tell fans that she would just like to have dinner in peace. I’m not sure Anne Enright would enjoy this level of fame, but she would certainly have something interesting to say about it.

Friday Reads: February 2023

You Must Like It All


People were singing on the steps below our living room window, and Elena removed an earphone to tell them to stop.

“You’re singing very badly!” she shouted. “I’m going to throw water on you!”

A man yelled he was too hot anyway. When he said he would like to have water thrown on him, she smiled to herself, closed her eyes, and lay back down on the sofa.

“Careful,” I said. “They might break our window again.”

She said, “It wasn’t them.”

“I know,” I said. “Obviously. I meant ‘they’ in the general sense.”

She put her earphone back in.

I put down my pen, and watched her. I had done that, every now and then, since we were six years old—stopped what I was doing to figure out something about her, to think about her face, or her hair, or the way she always laughed when I talked about death. Mostly I thought about her face. I had done that so often, by now, that I was convinced she must know, and must sometimes arrange herself to give me a good view, to give me time to look, to give me time to think about her textures. I hated it when I saw her do it with other people.

The fan was only disturbing the tips of her hair at the end of her low ponytail—the top, a little greasy, was tight on her skull. She wore pajama shorts, and, as always, when she wore shorts or skirts, I got stuck on the blond hairs on her thighs. And then I moved up, and got stuck on her skin. Like wax. Like alive wax. Wax that would not melt.

You Must Like It All