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The Secret's In The Folding - Fiona Thackeray
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The Secret's in the Folding

Fiona Thackeray

Welcome to the world of Brazil a country of colours and contrasts. The characters in these stories all show spirit, whether they are newly freed slaves, a beauty on a beach or dancers in Carnaval. Discover the importance of cakes and why some slaves have stripes on their backs; wait under the mango tree with the girl from the favela and feel for the sacked cane worker who rediscovers his Dad's puppets.

Fiona Thackeray's stories travel over time and space, from bandit folklore to a hospital janitor, from the cities to the dry lands and the Amazon. Each story is a gem in itself, but together they build up a mosaic image of Brazil and its characters.

What people think of The Secret's in the Folding

"...magical realism, a literary style which over the years has become steadily easier to do by numbers, often through a series of facile tropes, or else to death. Fiona Thackeray avoids both in her perfectly pitched evocation of Brazilian parasols and confit heaven in 'The Secret's in the Folding' . How many sins of the past have been beatified beneath just such battered canvases, I wonder? Only Dona Celestina, lately of the town of Bom Jesus, knows the answer."

Suhayi Saadi

"Pathos, too, can move in many mysterious ways. At its most unabashed, as in Fiona J Thackeray's 'Mango', it tugs at your heartstrings however immune you think you are...."

Michael Faber

"All but one of the nineteen stories in this collection are set in Brazil. The title story, 'The Secret's in the Folding' describes the arrival of newcomer Dona Celestina to town, wearing ill-fitting shoes and carrying a perpetually folded parasol. Curiosity leads to the opening of the parasol by the town shop-keeper's daughter and what has been a symbol of Dona Celestina's freedom, suddenly becomes something else, exposing her to potential ridicule. However, Thackeray resists a premature ending and the story concludes tenderly after Dona Celestina's hurt has been somewhat assuaged. 'The Darling of Brazil' is the story of journalist Kramer's relationship with Brazilian celebrity Leila Camargo. Kramer is writing a biography of Leila when she has to leave Brazil 'for the crime of loving the wrong person.' My favourite story was 'The Celestine Recipe', a story about culinary alchemy that is linked to the opening story, but told from an entirely different perspective and from the other side of town. It is a satisfying story of rivalry, jealousy and ultimately friendship."

Carys Bray

"I chose The Celestine Recipe as outright winner because of its mix of audacity and innocence, its playful yet firm command of technical craft. This is a story that has something to offer to readers of any age, that demands all our senses to work it to full effect. That optimism and invitation is a rare thing to pull off. Sustained, committed, this story does it luminously. 
The tale is daringly elaborate, quite out of keeping with much of the jingoism of contemp young britlit and all the more fascinating for it. For all the Spanish names, it reads less like magic realism than a strong, fluorescent fairy-tale, delightfully devoid of cynicism despite the gothic edges. As if that’s not enough, it has an affecting, gentle humour, and is a genuinely mouth-watering read, triumphantly overcoming the difficulties of writing mainly through a sense other than the visual. A romp and a testament to the love and pride that goes into exercising one’s art—in this case, cakes. Yes please."

Janice Galloway