Not having blogged for a while, this post includes a somewhat random collection of subjects. There will be short stories and more paintings again next time.
Next, while I blush at the years that have passed before I got around to reading Middlemarch (George Eliot), I finally accomplished this. If I had read it as a schoolgirl, I might have been a better writer, but hopefully it is never too late to have an improving influence. Eliot has a way of lightly skewering a character onto the page, with the result that they are forever real in your mind. There are no saints or villains to be seen; every character has strengths and weaknesses, can fascinate or disgust.
A few words on Mr and Mr’s Vincy’s relationship with their daughter, Rosamund, tells so much about all their characters.
Vincy, blustering as he was, had as little of his own way, as if he had been prime minister,…
Rosamund… listened in silence, and at the end gave a certain graceful turn of the neck, of which only long experience could teach you that it meant perfect obstinacy.
And Bulstrode’s endless rationalisations are a total giveaway of sanctimonious hypocrisy.
… is it not one thing to set up a new gin-palace and another to accept an investment in an old one?
The fates treat everyone with impartial kindness or cruelty according to random whim. Yet the plot is tight, intricate, totally believable and immensely satisfying. This is exactly what the title implies, a novel woven round a community, and yet this is no old-fashioned pastoral, the individual stories still grab you today. People’s mistakes and aspirations are still recognisable today. I’d better stop. Basically, Eliot has all the skills I am striving to acquire and my envy of her is too blatant.
I started Middlemarch in high summer, but autumn has more than set in. The hedgehogs are still feeding; we almost tripped over one last night, snuffling just outside the back door. He scuttled off, but returned quickly when I put food out. They will not eat in the rain, so if it is wet we put the plate under the back porch. Finally, my favourite rose, Just Joey, has decided to have a final summer fling and the cosmos chocamocha is flowering madly.