Book Club? No, thanks

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Book clubs, now…

I know that they’re all the rage, I know that no library worth its salt can go without one, I know that they are enough of a phenomenon to have made it to women’s fiction and movies, and I know, more to the point, that lots of people enjoy them immensely. Continue reading

Shirley and the loss of Story-Innocence

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Once upon a time – not long after our shared College years, I believe – my friend Fenella and I discovered a mutual liking for Charlotte Brontë’s Shirley. Now I’m sure you know how Shirley is rather the Cinderella among Charlotte’s novels – her one historical, written, at least in part, as a form of escapism while her siblings died one after another, and generally regarded as a lesser oddity.

Still, what can I say? I like it, with its background of faraway Napoleonic wars, and of Luddite unrest at home. I even like the unevenness of the whole. And I like the characters – even more than the eponymous girl (a heavily fictionalised portrait of Charlotte’s sister Emily), the quieter Caroline Helstone, and half-Belgian businessman Robert Moore. Continue reading

With a spoonful of poetry…

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We have this ongoing disagreement, my friend Milla and I. A friendly disagreement, mind – but still.

It is all about poetry, you see. Or at least, about quoting poetry – and the occasional bit of prose – at what Milla deems to be the wrongest moments. I, on the other hand, argue that not only there is no wrong moment for poetry – but, on the contrary, there is very little in this world that can’t be made at least a little better by a few well-chosen lines. Continue reading

Hear-ye hear-ye! (or, Sapere Books and I)

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I believe I’ve hinted, now and then, at a work in progress labeled “TW”, set in Elizabethan times and hopefully destined for promising developments?

Well, o Readers, the developments have happened, and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed a publishing deal with the wonderful Sapere Books! Continue reading

A Something in a Summer’s Day

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Poetry today, and Emily Dickinson – with the beauty and mystery of nature, and the wonders that keep being wonders year after year as the seasons dance past again and again, and the held breath before the magical, shimmering transience… Oh, no one like Emily for this kind of thing, is there?

Also, the summer colours threaded all through!

A something in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer’s noon,—
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;

Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;

Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;

Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;

Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint,—some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;

Or wind’s bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before

The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.

Lovely, isn’t it? And, as is often the case, a little haunting in its loveliness.

Malamud and the Quote Found

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Yes, yes – in the end I found it.

We talked about that quote of Bernard Malamud, didn’t we? The one about stories, stories, stories, the one I was sure I’d jotted down and never found again – not in old notebooks, not in the Web… That one.

Well, as was bound to happen, I found it in the end. Continue reading