Rather than inundate this blog with posts about No Name, I thought that I’d choose a different book from my current pile of reading. (Which has gathered a bit of dust the last couple of weeks during my unusually monogamous reading of Wilkie Collins.) This collection of short stories is by Irish writer Claire Keegan, and I’ve been enjoying them immensely. I only have two stories left to read, so I’d really like to finish this before the holidays. I’ve reviewed one of these stories previously. Now, I’d like to tease you with a bit of Keegan’s prose so that you can form a better opinion of her work. This selection comes from one of my favorites in the collection, called The Forester’s Daughter. A few pages into the story, we meet the two main characters: a farmer and his wife, recently married.
That summer her roses bloomed scarlet but long before the wind could blow their heads asunder, Martha realized she had made a mistake. All she had was a husband who hardly spoke now that he’d married her, an empty house and no income of her own. She had married a man she did not love. What had she expected? She had expected it would grow and deepen into love. And now she craved intimacy and the type of conversation that would surpass misunderstanding. She thought about finding a job but it was too late: a child was near ready for the cradle.
This is from Walk the Blue Fields, page 55. I love how Keegan’s simple sentences manage to convey such deep emotion. I can practically see a tired, middle aged woman, sitting in a farmhouse, looking sad and worn-down while thinking these thoughts.
An unrelated link: For those of you who are interested in classic novels but have mostly steered away from any and all Twilight media, here’s an interesting article comparing the Twilight series to Samuel Richardson’s classic “it-may-be-the-first-English-novel” novel, Pamela. I don’t have much to add beyond what I said in my comment on that post, but this article brought up some good points about materialism and class advancement in the two novels. I’ve never been drawn to the Twilight franchise, and this helped me understand some of my own initial misgivings.