OPEN BOOK

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

‘When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boil­ing a pot­ful of spaghetti and whistling along with an FM broad­cast of the over­ture to Rossini’s The Thiev­ing Mag­pie, which has to be the per­fect mu­sic for cooking pasta. I wanted to ig­nore the phone, not only be­cause the spaghetti was nearly done, but be­cause Clau­dio Ab­bado was bring­ing the Lon­don Sym­phony to its mu­si­cal cli­max. Fi­nally, though, I had to give in. It could have been some­body with news of a job open­ing. I low­ered the flame, went to the living room, and picked up the re­ceiver. “Ten min­utes, please,” said a woman on the other end. I’m good at recog­nis­ing peo­ple’s voices, but this was not one I knew. “Ex­cuse me? To whom did you wish to speak?” “To you, of course. Ten min­utes, please. That’s all we need to un­der­stand each other.” Her voice was low and soft but oth­er­wise non­de­script.’

THE WIND-UP BIRD

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