‘The latter is an attempt to delineate life as we live it, while the former attempts something far more inclusive and may explore a less quotidian view of the nature of being’.
Well, that’s cleared things up.
I must have read The Blue Flower over 30 years ago and I still remember the overwhelming experience, but it seems Sally Vickers is a much better reader – I missed a lot!
I know Penelope Fitzgerald had a brilliant mind but the most amazing thing about the book is how she managed somehow enter totally into the period – the late Germanic 18th century – and produce – page by page – a series of images as memorable as paintings by Vermeer.
I read The Blue Flower when it first came out in 1995. Despite having read many books I am not at all literary so I received it in my mind just as an experience. I did’nt/could’nt analyse it. I found it disturbing and abortive, unsatisfactory. I much preferred The Beginning of Spring and Human Voices.
I seem to remember reading The Beginning Of Spring and another novel by Penelope Fitzgerald back in the 1980s, sometime around New York Art Now at the Saatchi Gallery and the first Pixies album.
It’s set in Russia in 1913; the wonderful thing about it for me was, it’s as if she is recounting some mildly disruptive event she had observed when she lived in Moscow, which she never had. Her capture of time, place, the personalities involved and detail was extraordinary. Dreamlike.
Despite not having read The Blue Flower or anything by its author, I found this a beautiful piece of writing by Sally Vickers.
Does it encourage me to read the book? Not really, since i’d be concerned the “reality” of the book mightn’t match the imagination with which Sally describes it. Such is literature!
I had been thinking recently “if only UnHerd had some book reviews” Tadah!
I think that piece was a good limber up for a second reading starting tonight of How To Live or A Life Of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell.