The rowan appears in some versions of Norse mythology as the tree from which the first woman was made, a fact that pleases the Amorist, since her own dear editrice is, of course, Rowan Pelling, But not all Rowans are female (notably the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams), and it was good to see the meeting of two Rowans, above, at the launch party for Rowan Somerville’s book, ‘Beat’ (Lilliput Press).
Previously a gracious winner of the Literary Review's coveted Bad Sex Award, for his novel 'The Shape of Her', Rowan S’s latest book deals with a very different aspect of the heart – his attempt to understand how a young 22-year old terrorist could be capable of detonating a bomb that not only ended his own life, but also that of 22 other young people, mostly girls looking forward to ‘teen’ night at the disco.
The book turns on a green shoot of hope that bloomed from the rubble of this disaster in Tel Aviv sixteen years ago - an account of how the heart of an innocent Palestinian bystander, killed in the blast, was transplanted by doctors into the body of an Israeli, saving his life.
As the son of two cardiologists and the father of two daughters, it’s not hard to see why Rowan S got drawn into the story and spent several years researching his book. He talked to many people in Israel and the West Bank, trying to understand the roots of this young bomber's hatred - the complexities of the human heart that can lead to such atrocities.
It's a deeply touching story that was celebrated with verve at the Mandrake hotel in London's West End, with alcoholic sustenance from Ruinart champagne and moral support from friends as diverse as beauty guru Charlotte Tilbury, above, and Canongate's Jamie Byng, below.
Rowans clearly come from a fine genus and the Amorist looks forward to meeting more members of this family tree.
Kiss me, mad creature! Let me bite you. Let me suck you. Let me inhale you to your bones' own marrow.
Alfred de Musset, Gamiani, 1883