Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Cranks and curiosities

Helena's been a little out of sorts this week. I'd be cranky too if I were getting up before 5 in the morning and not napping sufficiently during the day. Come to think of it...

We tried the one-nap-a-day routine a couple months ago, and fortunately for everyone at that time, it didn't work out. But it seems Helena's ready to give it another go. So we'll be spending even more time together — what the heck are we supposed to do? Let's hope the weather clears up so we can go for more walks.

There's more on Daphne de Marneffe's "lovingly crafted and carefully constructed" new book:

In the end, it all comes down to every mother's need to view her experience as universal, expressive not merely of one of a myriad of ways of doing and feeling, but as of the only way, or certainly of the best way.

Didn't I say that, or something like it? Maybe that's why I refuse to read these books — I must insist that my experience of motherhood is absolutely singular.

This morning I finished reading A Case of Curiosities, by Allen Kurzweil. I never thought I was one much for historical novels, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The first quarter of the book in particular — the matter of our protagonist's education — reminded me of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast (not in plot: in tone), in its sense of place, in the weirdness of its players, in the richness of its language. Evocative.

The plot point that drove our protagonist from his native countryside to Paris was weak, as was the narrative tone (airy, vague, philosophical) that delivered it. But the characters were wonderfully drawn and the strange course of events was engrossing. I'll definitely be looking into Kurzweil's second novel, The Grand Complication.

I think that makes nine books I've read so far in 2004. I am way behind schedule. I really shouldn't be counting the Nancy Drew, but I will, to make myself feel better about it.

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