Today the Princess and I went to the ghoulish museum doing scary things for Halloween. I had my reservations both before and afterwards but it was probably worth it for the following three things:
1. The perfectly normal man at the entrance who explained solemnly to each group what they needed to win the prize at the end of the tour. This included a spot the difference competiton and marking your card with the seal of Satan (available down stairs).
2. The mother of a number of young children on her mobile to a friend gushing about the exhibition (showing monstrous beasts made of plastic and spittle) “it’s so sweet”.
3. Seeing that it was supported by the local commune under the heading of culture and small and medium enterprises.
We also went to this exhibition on the history of Europe. There are a lot of dead people in the history of Europe and many of them died in particularly unpleasant ways – particularly when you throw in colonial history for good measure. Even four year olds notice piles of skulls and shoes and want to know all about it. Challenging.
Nablpomo – D is for Doyle and Dickens and I forgot Rachel Cusk yesterday and thanks to a prod from C in the comments have remembered Pat Barker for B. This is going to be a lot more difficult than I thought.
Roddy Doyle is very funny and easy to read and thoughtful and clever as well. He does Dublin dialogue like nobody else. As far as I am concerned he didn’t put a foot wrong until he wrote “A Star called Henry”. Then he put both feet wrong; it is a quite dreadful book – dull and (oh the bitterness) humourless. I didn’t bother with the rest of the trilogy but he’s back on track with the latest “Paula Spencer” novel which is the latest update on the former alcoholic, former battered wife whom we’ve been following for years. Oh so much better than that makes it sound.
Charles Dickens – very readable, I am sure that he is delighted by my endorsement.
Rachel Cusk writes very well but she is odd and neurotic. I am a little ambivalent about her but I plan to keep buying her books.
I think I have read all Pat Barker’s books. The Regeneration Trilogy is, like everything she writes, very good and very readable but she owes a huge debt to Robert Graves’s “Goodbye to all That” which is, I think, a better read. I find her other books interesting – they are all about the less obvious consequences of war on civilian life.