Monday, September 04, 2006

swifts, watermelon, Flaubert's Parrot

Swifts usually leave for a warmer climate by the middle of August. Yesterday evening we watched and listened to a party of these acrobatic, screeching birds wheeling above the High Street. Behind them, over the Common, hovered a red kite - a flying toy and not the bird of prey.

Watermelons are at their most spectacular, after a slice has been removed, and the skin, with its pale green background and dark green strips, is contrasted with the abundant crimson flesh.

Some years ago I read Julian Barnes's novel Flaubert's Parrot for the first time quickly and with only moderate enjoyment. But it left its mark, and, prompted by it, I subsequently read or reread five of Flaubert's most important works and a selection of his letters. I read them with increasing pleasure and enlightenment, and now I'm rereading Flaubert's Parrot with increaing pleasure and enlightenment. It is relatively short but amounts to a critique of the great French novelist's work and life, while its own sparse plot unfolds. Thankyou Julian Barnes.

1 comment:

Lucas said...

Flaubert's Parrot is indeed a mine of subtle insights and rewarding references. I have only read a small selection of Flaubert's actual writings but I feel a sense of insight that comes from reading Julian Barnes: a very enjoyable read and a new spin on modern.