For a long time I’ve been thinking that I should have a ‘filler’ post, something that keeps me in touch especially when I’m having a dry patch with reviews. I’m inspired by so many brilliant regular posts that I see, but I can’t decide what mine should be about, I have decided though that it’s time to stop thinking and time to get on with it. So no themes to start with just a miscellany of indulgent randomness that hopefully will build into something of a scrapbook and maybe a pattern will start to emerge.
In my recent review This Side Of Paradise I mentioned that Amory Blaine included Edward Carpenter in his list of forward thinkers and that he was one of my hero’s too, so my first random post is going to be:
Edward Carpenter 1844-1929
Social reformer, poet and writer Edward Carpenter was a pioneering supporter of womens rights and an early campaigner for gay rights. Strongly influenced by Walt Whitman, his home which he shared with his life long partner George Merrill became an informal refuge and is where E.M. Forster was inspired to write Maurice. Continue reading “Random Sunday”
Based on Tove Jansson’s own summers in the cottage she built with her brother Lars on a tiny island they discovered in the gulf of Finland in 1947; The Summer Book follows a companionable summer shared between 6 year old Sophia and her grandmother, characters inspired by her own artist mother, Signe Hammarsten and her niece Sophia.
In the introduction Esther Freud describes how on a visit it takes her precisely 4½ minutes to walk around the island, but after being there for a couple of days she falls into ‘island time’ and realises ‘it would need a whole summer to discover everything there is to do’. And I felt that this was true of the reading. The short chapters with titles like ‘The Neighbour’ or ‘The Pasture’ or ‘Playing Venice’ entice you to slow down, don’t rush and dip into the adventures and conversations that Sophia and her grandmother are having, reading and absorbing in island time. Continue reading “The Summer Book”
Published in 1920 This Side of Paradise charts the coming of age of Amory Blaine, born on a spring day in 1896.
I was going to start by saying that it begins with his being a snot of a little boy but I realised that wouldn’t be very fair because he just is what he is. And that’s an only child bought up by his mother, Beatrice, ‘whose youth passed in Renaissance glory’ and is now ‘versed in the latest gossip of the Older Roman Families’ her husband Stephen is sometimes in the background but it’s Amory who is her companion. He is absurdly handsome and his mother parades him before her friends ‘she fed him sections of the Fêtes galantes before he was ten; at eleven he could talk glibly, if rather reminiscently, of Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven.’ Beatrice is charming and beautiful and delicate with a body that’s a mass of frailties and a soul to match, ‘next to doctors, priests were her favourite sport.’ She wafts around until she just wafts away when Amory decides he wants to go to school.
‘Amory wondered how people could fail to notice that he was a boy marked for glory, and when faces of the throng turned towards him and ambiguous eyes stared into his, he assumed the most romantic of expressions and walked on the air cushions that lie on the asphalts of fortune.’ Continue reading “This Side Of Paradise”
Written and directed by Marjane Satrapi in collaboration with Vincent Paronnaud, Persepolis is based on Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. I must admit that although this has been on my radar for a few years I’ve always been put off by the animation, so I’m glad I’ve been made to watch it for my film challenge because it was brilliant.
A coming of age story set against the background of the Iranian Revolution, it’s both harrowing and exuberant. Marjane is 9 when the film opens in 1978, a precocious child who wants to be a prophet and obsesses over Bruce Lee. Growing up in comfort with her liberal, politically active family they have high hopes for a better society post the revolution. Continue reading “A Film For June: Persepolis”