Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Brontes Vs The Russians

If pre-war, sisterly imagination is your thing – and you have a high tolerance for the idea of the Brontes as rather cantankerous ghosts – The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson is the book for you.

She had me on the first page, Miss Ferguson did.

A woman at one of mother’s parties once said to me, “Do you like reading ?” which smote us all to silence, for how could one tell her that books are like having a bath or sleeping, or eating bread – absolute necessities which one never thinks of in terms of appreciation.

And by the end of chapter one I was completely sold.

Three years ago I was proposed to. I couldn’t accept the man, much as I liked him, because I was in love with Sherlock Holmes.

This is the sort of deceptively light whimsy that cheers and consoles and celebrates the imagination all at once. Though it’s probably a sign of my shallowness that I gobbled this up in an hour or two, whereas Summer in Baden-Baden A Novel by Leonid Typkin has been in the house for at least a week and  I haven’t managed to finish the first, never-ending sentence yet. I was mildly interested in finding out that Typkin was a published author for a mere seven days before he died. And I have a theory – already! On less than half a page of reading! – about Typkin’s use of the dash. Still, my advice would be to go for the Brontes and Woolworths makes a nice change from the moors.

Two facts - There is no clip art online for "Gloomy Russian Gentleman". 
The New York Times calls Summer 'Extraordinary!'Indeed!

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