Thursday, January 12, 2006

If you don't mind working a little for a literary payoff London by Edmund Rutherfurd will surely give you a happy ending. This is a great historical novel following the lives of 5 families in London. The novel begins at the receding of the last major ice age and spans through to the 20th century. I have ADD, and if I could make it through, I think you might also. Rutherford's SARUM is a similar fictionalized history of the Salisbury Plain of England. Great books, but they are meaty and take a while to finish.

Now I'm reading
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke. Excellent reading. Set in 1807, the novel's sentence structure wouldn't be out of place in novels set in the early 19th century, which is a bit of a lark, really. The author uses fake footnotes to buttress the action of the novel, and these extraneous bits are a wonderful side journey from the main drama. The genre is sort of thriller/mystical/mystery, but I'm only through about 70 pages so I'll tell when I'm finished how I would describe it then.

I don't often fall in love with passages in novels, but having been to the very church being described - the Cathedral in York, or York minster - the description was so apropos I have to quote it here:
A great old church in the depths of winter is a discouraging place at the best
of times; the cold of a hundred winters seems to have been preserved in its
stones and to seep out of them.

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