Sentence of the Day: BR, p. 37

While the narrator and his boring chum Collins take themselves to Ravenna (which no one will be going to for the duration because COVID-19) for the summer:

  • I wrote long letters to Sebastian and called daily at the post office for his answers.

Ah, the pining!

Stay tuned.

When Her Husband Left Everything to Kent, the Servant

As if things were not just getting absolutely awful for poor Anne Glenconner (Her two eldest sons dead, the third in a coma), her husband Colin flees to the Caribbean, and becomes close to a servant named Kent.

A Night at the Opera, p. 294

It was going well until halfway through the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves in the opera’s third act when, to my absolute horror, Colin started to wail and scream beside me. “Colin, what is the matter?” I asked.

“I wish Kent was here,” he wailed.

“Honestly, I don’t think Kent would enjoy it, but I am here.”

But he continued to wail, “No, no, I want Kent!”

By this time, more and more of the audience were turning their heads in our direction. Seeing the rug over Colin’s knees, I grabbed it and threw it over his head, hoping it would shut him up. To my amazement, he didn’t tear it off and, with his wails now considerably muffled, the audience turned their attention back to the stage. Shrinking into my seat, I hoped the saga was over, but the worst embarrassment was yet to come. When the chorus finally ended, the conductor turned to the audience and announced, “Under the circumstances, I think we will have to have that again.” I was utterly mortified as the chorus began again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Celia in THE PARASITES

Spoiler — because p. 309:

Celia piled more logs on to the fire, and threw the letter from the publisher into the blaze.

Self’s heart gave a lurch, but who is she to judge?

Stay tuned.

The Famous (or Infamous) Daphne du Maurier Jump Cut

If Daphne du Maurier were alive today, she would be an indie filmmaker. Her stories, her eye, her ear — perfect for cinema.

As is this novel self has been reading for almost a month: The Parasites.

She generally dislikes du Maurier endings, but loves her books for the absolute authority of her voice, and for her painterly eye.

If she were to cast the film adaptation, hmmm. Who would be Niall? Someone dark-haired, tall and slender.

Who would she cast as Maria? Someone blonde, tall, and slender, and also pretty.

Who would she cast as Celia? Someone not-blonde, not-tall, slightly overweight, and not-pretty,

These three siblings have self shaking her head; she sees a little of herself in all of them.

The first jump cut in The Parasites was after Lord Charles walks in on Maria disrobed in front of her (step)brother Niall. Suddenly, here we are a year later, and Maria has an infant named Caroline.

The next jump cut has just happened: Last we saw them, the sibs were in their mid-20s. Now they’re in their mid-30s. But self is so happy to see them all alive and together, no matter their age.

Niall is reminiscing about Freada (is she still around? Probably not, she was quite a bit older):

  • This was one of the many things he had learnt from Freada. ‘Carry what you can upon your back,’ she used to say. ‘It all saves time and temper. Have no real possessions. Stake no claim. This is our home, for three, for two nights only. This studio, this lodging-house, this unfamiliar room in a hotel’ . . .  Once they went a bust and took a suite in a palatial kind of palace in Auvergne . . . She got up at eight in the morning and went off to drink the waters or have the waters poured upon her, Niall never really knew which; but he used to lie in bed until she returned in the middle of the day, and he read every one of the works of Maupassant, the book in one hand and a bar of chocolate in the other.

The way Niall’s getting all nostalgic makes self worry that Freada is dead.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Captain Wentworth I

He swans into town, proud and unyielding, and makes mincemeat of Anne Elliott’s heart. While he is surrounded by eligible young ladies, Anne is called upon to play the music for the dancing, “though her eyes would sometimes fill with tears as she sat at the instrument . . .” Poor Anne!

Persuasion, pp. 69 – 70:

It was a merry, joyous party, and no one seemed in higher spirits than Captain Wentworth. She felt that he had every thing to elevate him, which general attention and deference, and especially the attention of all the young women could do.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What Kind of Books Make You Cry?

This morning, self answered a Bookshouse tweet that asked: What kind of books make you cry while reading them?

She wanted to say: Almost every book.

Or she could have said: Angst-y books.

Instead, she decided to name a book. No, it was not The Subtle Knife, though that book certainly did make her cry. It was Tim O’Brien’s In the Lake of the Woods. Because of the character of the wife.

Like Dead Letters (which she compares almost every book to, now), it’s a mystery. While Dead Letters gives us closure on the very last page, In the Lake of Woods doesn’t give us even that much. Read at your own risk! O’Brien executes the wife’s point of view so well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Angst in Dead Letters and Missing, Presumed

These two books are mysteries. And each has a ton of angst.

Actually, there’s angst as well in Tana French. But French’s angst doesn’t approach the level of angst in either Dead Letters or Missing, Presumed.

Of the two, self much prefers the hysterical, over-the-top angst in Dead Letters. In fact, now that she knows how Dead Letters end, she’s started re-reading, and it is simply delicious: Nadine, the matriarch, pitches wine glasses at her daughter’s head, the same  daughter who has just returned from Paris, leaving behind graduate studies and a nice French boyfriend, all for the sake of grieving for her twin sister, who stole her boyfriend.

In Missing, Presumed, the angst is due to the main character’s being almost 40 and suffering from a bad case of FOMO. The first half of the book gives almost as much attention to her blind dates as to the missing person case itself. Pardon self if she much prefers the angst in Dead Letters. At least, in Dead Letters, the angst is due to having a horrible, living mother and recently deceased sister (burned to a crisp in a raging barn fire — how can this not be the most delicious of set-ups?)

In Missing, Presumed, there is one really bad guy, and it’s not the perp. It’s that horrible, no-good systems analyst from Ely who hooks up with the main character and softens her up by leaving her eye drops (delivering them in person to the police station!) because she’s developed a raging case of conjunctivitis, which — take her word for it — looks horrible during televised press conferences

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

The Aggravations of Being a Woman Detective

Missing, Presumed, p. 329

“Listen, he’s a prick,” says Bryony, “top totty like you.”

“He might still change his mind,” says Davy, who seems back to his old self.

“Davy,” says Bryony. “Let’s not give the patient false hope.”

lol

lol

lol

Stay tuned.

 

This Scene: Jamaica Inn, Ch. 2

Her aunt, who had not uttered a word since her husband entered the room, was frying bacon over the fire. No one spoke. Mary was aware of Joss Merlyn watching her across the table, and behind her she could hear her aunt fumbling with ineffectual fingers at the hot handle of the frying pan.

Some Thoughts:

  • The frying of the bacon in the middle of the night is a very interesting touch.
  • Joss Merlyn is an utter pig and Mary has certainly landed herself in a pickle, stuck with him and his cowed wife in an inn of uncertain repute in the middle of a nightmarishly stark and unfamiliar landscape.

So far, the novel reads like one of those dark fairy tales where a damsel in distress has to endure trial by fire before she encounters a) a prince; b) a fairy godmother; c) an inheritance.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

TREASURE ISLAND, Chapter XII: “Council of War”

DSCN0175.JPG

This past week has been a great, angst-y week. Not only did self definitively decide that she couldn’t bear to read further than p. 253 of The Amber Spyglass — it would break her — but she saw Avengers: Infinity War, and — she just can’t seem to escape the bloody angst. Because the movie — just ask anyone who’s seen it — has angst to the nth power.

As soon as she got home, she resumed reading Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. (For such a slim novel, it is taking FOREVER for her to read through, maybe because she keeps having to blog about pirate tropes, practically every page)

Today’s reading had mild angst. For one thing, a mutiny has just been discovered by the captain of the Hispaniola, a rather decent man named Mr. Smollett (The name alone does not encourage confidence regarding his eventual fate).

So, what are we to do? asks someone of the captain (He means: what are we to do about the mutiny?)

“First point,” began Mr. Smollett. “We must go on, because we can’t turn back.”

The captain and his mates then begin to try and figure out which members of the crew are loyal and can be counted on. They consider a crewman named ‘Hands.’ (Self loves the names in this novel. First there was Barbecue, the ship’s cook. Now there is a seaman named ‘Hands.’)

“Hands was one of mine,” says the squire.

“I did think I could have trusted Hands,” added the captain.

“And to think that they’re all Englishmen!” broke out the squire.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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