McPhee Gribble/Penguin, 178 pp, $6.95 pb, 0 14 00 7184 9
Ismini at sixteen, carefully putting together the surprise birthday dinner for her father, ponders the untranslatable realities of words:
One morning on a hot wooden jetty her father had hauled a squid out of the flashing sea. Dripping, its bright mantle fading, it had shuddered and wheezed at her feet, blind in the white sun, as it died.
Oh what is it, Baba?
Mummy, Baba’s caught a kalamari!
Oh yes, look. A squid.
In English it was a different creature.