I had to switch my four stars to three, and I'm sure it's worth four or even five stars to most readers. It's just that I had difficulty getting throuI had to switch my four stars to three, and I'm sure it's worth four or even five stars to most readers. It's just that I had difficulty getting through the random memories and ruminations John Bayley brings to this book. Again, I lay the blame on myself rather than the author who is obviously learned, highly intelligent and intellectual (although he spends much time downplaying or protesting this). It sometimes reads like a literary circles name-dropping fest, other times is so introspective into the sort of in-depth regions of their romance, love, life together, mutual mishmash life in diminished world of Altzheimers. It was rough traipsing, a bit of a go to even finish it.
That said, Bayley has a wonderful command of the language, a careful employment of words, phrases, images. I don't guess I need to approve of his lifestyle, theirs; I probably would have enjoyed this couple very much indeed, as so many wonderful people did and have. For some reason he insists on making them seem a bit scruffy and off-putting. How many times did he need to mention their lack of interest in personal hygiene? So maybe it's just a little more personal than I needed on one level, and maybe that's also part of its charm as well. And maybe it really is worth four stars even if I didn't really LOVE it, just sort of... well, loved PARTS of it.
I'm glad I do own the copy I read. I think I'll have to go back some and find parts that are great. I can already feel that it's going to shift in my mind, that I'm going to be living with John and Iris a while. I've already quoted him in a piece of my own writing of memoirs. I'm definitely going to be reading some Iris Murdoch soon, and I'll probably follow up with some of the other authors he mentions, Barbara Pym for instance.
Rosemary Zibart has written a story bound to appeal to younger readers' yearning for adventure and new experiences. Told from the viewpoint of main chRosemary Zibart has written a story bound to appeal to younger readers' yearning for adventure and new experiences. Told from the viewpoint of main character Beatrice, the tale is based on factual events connected with the Nazi invasion of Europe and siege on London during the beginning months of World War II. Beatrice is a twelve-year-old English girl sent, as many children were during that period, to the United States for safety during the terrifying days of the German blitz. Her story is interesting and informative, both of her life in London before the departure and then later adapting to a very different kind of life in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The comparison of cultural differences is exciting to Beatrice and will be through her eyes to other youngsters reading about her experiences, some difficult for her but also many very rewarding.
This book is the first in a Far and Away series which will continue to follow the adventures of children during World War II. I'm looking forward to the next one about a young boy in New York City, a tale described to me as gripping by the author's husband....more
I read The Women on the Porch about 15 years ago, shortly after moving into Benfolly, the old house on the Cumberland River where the author and her hI read The Women on the Porch about 15 years ago, shortly after moving into Benfolly, the old house on the Cumberland River where the author and her husband Alan Tate lived during the 1930's. Although I remembered liking the book enough to give it 4 stars and suggest it for our Book Club reading, I have found on its rereading that I didn't remember much about the book - or perhaps now am noticing different things about it than I did then. I have wanted to reread this book for years and am so glad that I finally have.
One of the things that has always struck me about Caroline Gordon's writing is her clear and distinctive descriptions of the natural world in which her characters reside and the story unfolds. Her thoughtfully detailed verbal illustrations of scenes carries me totally into the world she is describing, mesmerizes me with memory and recognition. Her notice of the smallest leaf picking up light, the aspect of the sky, the quality of air, the surrounding flora works to capture the very essence of the outdoor world in beautiful wording that vividly illuminates the setting for each scene in the story, placing the reader solidly into the place of which she writes.
And sense of PLACE is a very important aspect of Gordon's writing....more