Onafhankelijk van geboortedata
De Engelse schrijver Tom Rachman werd geboren in Londen in 1974 en groeide op in Vancouver, Rachman studeerde film aan de Universiteit van Toronto, daarna journalistiek aan Columbia University in New York. In 1998 trad hij toe tot de Associated Press als een desk editor buitenland in New York, werd toen correspondent in Rome in 2002. Hij schreef artikelen vanuit o.a. India, Turkije, Japan, Zuid-Korea, Sri Lanka, Egypte, België, Groot-Brittannië. Van 2006 tot 2008 was hij redacteur bij de International Herald Tribune in Parijs. Zijn artikelen verschenen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Slate en en The New Statesman. Hij woont in Londen. Tom Rachman publiceerde twee romans, “The Rise & Fall of Great Powers” (2014) en “The Imperfectionists” (2010), een internationale bestseller, die is vertaald in 25 talen.
“Lloyd shoves off the bedcovers and hurries to the front door in white underwear and black socks. He steadies himself on the knob and shuts his eyes. Chill air rushes under the door; he curls his toes. But the hallway is silent. Only high-heeled clicks from the floor above. A shutter squeaking on the other side of the courtyard. His own breath, whistling in his nostrils, whistling out.
Faintly, a woman’s voice drifts in. He clenches his eyelids tighter, as if to drive up the volume, but makes out only murmurs, a breakfast exchange between the woman and the man in the apartment across the hall. Until, abruptly, their door opens: her voice grows louder, the hallway floorboards creak – she is approaching. Lloyd hustles back, unlatches the window above the courtyard, and takes up a position there, gazing out over his corner of Paris. She taps on his front door.
“Come in,” he says. “No need to knock.” And his wife enters their apartment for the first time since the night before. He does not turn from the window to face Eileen, only presses his bald knees harder into the iron guardrail. She smoothes down the back of his gray hair. He flinches, surprised to be touched.
“Only me,” she says.
He smiles, eyes crinkling, lips parting, inhaling as if to speak. But he has no reply. She lets go.
He turns finally to find her seated before the drawer where they keep old photographs. A kitchen towel hangs from her shoulder and she wipes off her fingers, damp from peeled potatoes, dishwashing liquid, diced onions, scented from mothballed blankets, soil from the window boxes – Eileen is a woman who touches everything, tastes all, digs in. She slips on her reading glasses.
“What are you hunting for in there?” he asks.
“Just a picture of me in Vermont when I was little. To show Didier.” She rises, taking a photo album with her, and stands by the front door. “You have plans for dinner, right?”
Tom Rachman (Londen, oktober 1974)