The Poet and the Hypotenuse: Karine Hetherington

I feel like a bit of a mongrel.  English, French, with splashes of Georgian.  I have travelled, taught, written, learnt new languages.  My mind in later years however has become inhabited by the voices of my ancestors, whose tales have me dreaming….

In this story, a great-grandmother has chosen to forego a holiday in St Tropez with her extensive family and stay confined to her apartment in Paris in August. Madness?  It is her late husband’s birthday, Paris is empty and her memories are swelling uneasily.


‘Long years must pass before the truths we have made for ourselves become our very flesh.’ Paul Valéry

The white muslin curtains billow; the breeze I have been waiting for all day finally arrives.  The relief is short-lived as a window begins to rattle. I stare at it angrily, willing it to cease and finally lever myself out of a chair to close it.

I am rarely in Paris during the month of August.  By now, I have usually escaped the mugginess which descends upon this city, to St Tropez or Cap Ferret, anywhere one of my four daughters has managed to rent a villa at an exorbitant price.


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The Poet and the Hypotenuse

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