Saturday, November 24, 2007

it works, Zola, round head

After a sticky 24 hours the land line telephone, which replaces, an earlier new and faulty telephone, its batteries now fully charged, seems to be working as it should. I still approach it with caution, though, as you might, someone, whom you feel you may, inadvertently, have offended.

I have started on my seventh Zola novel in the Rougon Macquart series. Why do I so much enjoy these books? There are 20 novels altogether. Although they all touch on members of Rougon and Macquart families, this is no family saga. Each novel stands on its own and I have found that there is no need to read them in sequence. The series describes life in France across the whole spectrum of social class and weaves stories into every aspect of society -from coal mining to the development of a huge department store, from the theatre to the railways, from alcholism to political intrigue. At first I feared boredom, a too serious social purpose. But page-turning stories have kept me entertained, and observations based on Zola intensive research help me to understand the French people and French history. It constantly surprises me that so much of the content seems relevant today. I cannot quite relax until I have at least two more in the series lined up for when I have finished the volume I am reading.

A cat sits on the indside window sill of the front room of a house which I pass. The window is open and it pops its head out to enjoy the fresh air, while keeping warm indoors. It is the cat with a round head, which I have often seen in the summer sitting on the bonnet of a car or in patch of sun light on the pavement.

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