My sister-in-law drew my attention to this sentence from a review in the Irish Times by Mary Russell:
“When I removed my IUD – a state-of-the-art contraceptive device which served me faithfully – I sprayed it gold and wore it as an earring: an icon in its own right.”
She tells me that she and Ms. Russell did a bit of the camino together. I just thought you should know.
NaBloPoMo – U is for Updike. Which is a pity because I don’t like Updike. I cannot empathise with Rabbit. So there.
However, I now realise that I skipped John McGahern, so I will slot him in here. In my early 20s I read a lot of John McGahern and really enjoyed books like “The Dark” and “The Barracks”. Let’s remember that I was in my early 20s, shall we? I found “Amongst Women” very depressing but rather brilliant. His last novel “That They May Face the Rising Sun” is just weird. It’s a year in Leitrim (distant part of Ireland where almost no one lives). It is immensely evocative and at the end of it, you do really feel as though you’ve spent a year in Leitrim- particularly, if you take as long as I did to read it. My problem with this is I didn’t particularly want to spend a year in Leitrim. There is no plot to speak of. It was published about ten years after his previous novel. My friend C says that it was not that it took him a long time to write it but that he was holding off publishing until all the locals described in the book had died and would therefore be unable to sue him for publishing their stories (or local gossip, if you prefer). For me that rings true. The people in this book (other than the English blow-ins) seem like real people and the I bet all the stories are real.
And, imagine, I forgot Tolkien as well. I read my mother’s version of “The Lord of the Rings” in three volumes when I was 12 or 13. I had read “The Hobbit” earlier and I think it’s possible that my mother had even read it aloud to us when we were smaller. I was absolutely entranced by “The Lord of the Rings”. The year I read “The Lord of the Rings”, my family drove to the North of Italy on holidays and my mother bitterly regretted introducing me to the tome. “Look up, Anne” she would say “it’s the Place de la Concorde; fountains to wash away the blood”. My mother has a taste for the dramatic. I would briefly glance up from Frodo’s trek and then get back to reading. “Anne, please look up, it’s the Alps”. Another brief glance before getting back to business. I reread them all when the films came out and book 2 is a complete dud. Otherwise still a good read, particularly, if you are fond of elves. You may already be familiar with this anecdote in relation to same, but I have included a link, just in case because I am a good and kind person.