Wednesday, December 20, 2006

rime, squirrels, new book

Hoar frost on the branches of the lime. It begins to melt and, in the early sunlight, you can see drops of water collecting in transparent beads on the end of twigs.

The Grove is full of squirrels. They stand upright, holding a nut between their forepaws which they turn round rapidly as they gnaw it. All the time their jaws are moving, as they earnestly chew. Seen from a distance, with their forepaws together, they could be praying.

It's hard to finish a novel which has entranced you for some time. Nana by Emile Zola was always hard to put down. Starting a new one is hard until you have reached the point when it begins to intrigue you. The new one is Le Soleil des Scorta by Laurent Gaudé, I'm just beginning to miss the parched, barren hills of southern Italy where it is set, and the sullen peasants, who live there at the end of the 19th century. But what will happen to the bandit, who returns to a village after 14 years in prison, to sleep with the woman who has been on his mind since his arrest, knowing that the villagers will almost certainly kill him for his trouble?

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