Posts Tagged 'literature'

The Player’s Boy, by Bryher

Rose from a golf course in New Orleans

“The dark Thames (oh, here it was not silver) slipped easily below the wall on which I leant, a thread stringing London together from the quiet Fulham gardens to the palaces of the Strand. There was movement everywhere, it was the changing of the seasons, old wives hung up their last, end-of-summer washing, boys chopped wood, and neside me, on a wattle fence, I noticed a final, clinging rose. ”

Bryher, The Player’s Boy. Republished in 2006 by the Paris Press, Ashfield, MA.

A lovely dreamlike book, spanning the days of Shakespeare to the death of Raleigh. It’s short (194 pages), and parts of it are quite sad, but they’re intermixed with golden light. After reading a bit about Byher’s life, and her connection with HD, I’m now quite eager to find a good biography of their lives.

Caramels of discord

When running a fever, that is NOT the time to pick a recipe from the Joy of Cooking and start merrily making chocolate caramels. I got to use my double boiler, I found my candy thermometer, and used up some corn syrup leftover from last year’s holiday baking. I doggedly tried to get the mix to make it up to the desired 242-degree temperature, with no luck. After 3 hours of coddling along the water in the base of the double boiler, I think I just made a pan of caramel sauce. (It’s really good on challa bread, and I have some apple slices to try tomorrow, if it hasn’t set.)

Home Ec goddess I am not.

Finished Cakes and Ale. It’s worth reading, even if only for revisiting the paths that male authors continue to wear down with their footsteps — the selfless woman who loves sex and doesn’t worry about the Victorian moralities around her, the cattiness of other women, and the men who are changed (made older and wiser, made fools) by the acts of the selfless woman. I am grateful that I will never be able to meet any of the people in the book.

What Was Lost

Catherine O’Flynn’s novel, What Was Lost, is worth reading, whether you’re a teen or someone who remembers being a teen. It’s 240 pages of tight, interesting prose.

Yes, there’s a moment where I felt lost, as the author switched points of view midstream, but it added to the experience of reading this short novel. So much is lost, that it almost defines the characters. The reward for the reader is an interesting path to “finding” what was lost, and finding the “real” story by the end.

This path of discovery makes me want to re-read the novel to see how O’Flynn carefully chose portions of the story to unravel first. And no — I don’t think that skipping to the end really “reveals” the answer to the whole thing. It just reveals the answer to one story.

This book won the Costa Book Award in 2007 for First Novel. I’m hoping for other novels from O’Flynn. So, have you read any good new authors lately?

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