Snowdrops by A.D.Miller
Well… it didn’t win the Man Booker and that was definitely the correct decision, in my opinion. It’s interesting, I’ll give it that, but I’m surprised it even reached the shortlist.
Mr Miller’s sentence structure is also interesting. I found his syntax irritating for the first quarter of the book and then, I suppose, I got used to it. Sometimes his writing came across as quite amateurish and at others he paints an amazingly vivid picture in a few, bright words. His imagery also veers from the sublime to the naff. I’ve just started looking through it again for some examples, but as I said, I got used to it and second time round I couldn’t find any. Odd though, for all the way through his phrasing often pulled me up, made me read again- it wasn’t a smooth journey and I didn’t altogether feel in safe hands.
The blurb says it’s irresistable, sophisticated, compelling, electrifying, gripping…
I found it none of these, but I did read to the end.
It’s a rather sordid tale of deception centred around a weak, ineffectual, self absorbed yet basically un-self aware and dishonest chap who I didn’t much like and didn’t much care about and two hard-nosed, stereotypical bitches.
I think what disappointed me was that there were no surprises. The tone was set from chapter one and we ended up exactly where we imagined we would. I also found his asides to his potential wife-to-be rather sad and annoying. I hope she ditched him like a freshly scooped up dog-shit in a polythene bag!
The story does not contain any great intrigue and I found his explanations of the final denouement over complicated. It wasn’t, after all, a crime that required either huge intellect or great cunning. But I got the gist, which was quite enough.
What shone through quite exceptionally however, was Moscow. By the last chapter I could smell, taste, hear, see, feel and sense the place. It really got under my skin. I finished the book feeling rather wistful that I’d never visited it during those crazy years and also completely relieved that I’d been lucky enough to avoid it. Its setting is Snowdrops’ triumph.
Read it for sure, but it’s not my favourite. I’ll gladly debate it’s merits with anyone whose opinion differs from mine.
I’ve been appreciating the wonders of modern technology over the last week. Skype. (We’ve tried face-time too, while giggling over it’s sexual innuendo- or is that just us? But have not managed to connect yet…) My man and I, four thousand miles apart, yet still able to look upon each other… and smile. He’s well, ergo so am I. Lots of photos have been winging both ways over the atlantic and keeping in touch is… Well, it’s nice. So nice. Just nice. Nice.
I’ve had some gorgeous walks with the dogs over the last few days. One of our favourites is down an old railway cutting that was once blasted through ancient granite walls. They have since been revealed to be chock-full of fossils. It’s impassable in the summer months due to seven foot high nettles and brambles but it’s all been recently cleared and the Autumn die-down is helping too. The dogs love it and Bruce invariably catches a rabbit or unearths his own fossilised remains. Yum!
Back home, I’ve been nesting; spring cleaning six months too late or six months too early, which ever way you choose to look at it. I’ve blitzed almost every room in the house, clearing, sorting, moving, re-arranging and it feels good. Still got a way to go but I’m in the mood for change!
I’ve been writing lots as usual, plus some editing, re-writing, re-thinking and getting things out of the way in time for November and NaNoWriMo. Exciting. I’ve got an all day poetry course tomorrow at DMU which I’m really looking forward to and my Monday night class is keeping me busy, so not much time for sleep, even though my bedroom looks so inviting now with its fairy lights and its new vistas and its winter duvet…
Today Julius and I spent a super afternoon walking round the Botanic Gardens in Leicester for their annual sculpture exhibition which closes at the end of the month. It was recommended to me by my poetry friends at the Leicester Stanza. A pamphlet of poems written on the exhibition will be produced so I thought I’d take a look and see if I found inspiration amidst the bronze, the marble, the rusty old iron, the resin and of course, nature…
It’s well worth a visit. Here are some of my favourites. There were over fifty exhibits so this is only scratching the surface. I’ll write more about them next week.
Spiral- Richard Thornton
First Step Into The Next Decade- Brele Scholz
Narcissus- Susan Forsyth
Seated Couple- Lynn Chadwick
Lion 1- Lynn Chadwick (and Julius… our very own Daniel)
Soaring Figure- Rick Kirby
Didn’t photograph this one’s name or title, sorry…
My Fat Angel- Mary Anstee parry
And last but not least, the piece I found most intriguing and hence the one I shall probably write a poem about…
Waiting- John W Mills
Decision of the evening… which book next? Think it’ll have to be the Julian Barnes. My copy is a divinely petite hard back with a beautiful dust cover scattered with dandelion clocks and floating seeds and the pages are all edged in black. Delightful. I’ll review it here soon.
And see you soon too x
P.S. Skype… God how I love you… and how I love my man!