March 11th, 2008


Recent reading

Lord Dunsany, The Curse of the Wise Woman. This 1933 novel has seen fewer reprints than most of Dunsany's earlier work, perhaps because it is not really a fantasy. Magic plays a central role in the book, but in the form of Irish folk wisdom, which encounters mechanized "progress" with drastic results. This is played out against a backdrop of Irish politics (involvement with which usually ends in death or imprisonment). Some of the most memorable scenes are of the young narrator's journeys on the bog, roaming through the heather and peat to hunt snipe.

Robertson Davies, Fifth Business. I've avoided Can lit for years, after being force-fed some dreary samples of it in university. Still, I am Canadian and the literature of my country should mean something to me. This book starts out with a thrown snowball and details the lifetime of events it sets in motion. Business, politics, conjuring and hagiography are woven into the intricate plot. Davies' fast-paced narrative never bores. I bought a one-volume edition of The Deptford Trilogy, and I'm sure I'll read the other two books before long.