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Pickle Me This

June 29, 2011

Drabbling 2011

I fell in love with Margaret Drabble in 2004, when I was living in Japan and first read The Radiant Way. After that, every trip to Kobe necessitated a trip to Wantage Books so I could pick up a few more battered Penguins with bright orange spines (or, more often, with orange spines now so faded that they’d become yellow). When we left Japan, I insisted on sending all of my battered Drabbles home by surface mail. Before we came to Canada, we spent six weeks in England, and I bought a whole pile of mid-period Margaret Drabble books at various charity shops. I read her latest The Red Queen. And then I’d read all the Drabbles in the entire world, and suddenly new Drabbles were a rare and precious thing.

This doesn’t happen to me so often. Most of the writers I like have huge backlists and are usually dead, and so I have many resources at my disposal when I want to feast upon their oeuvre– new books, used books, libraries, random boxes on curbs. When I want anything, I rarely have to wait for it. I don’t know the anticipation of lining up for things at midnight, whether it be for Harry Potter or an iPad, but sometimes I wish I did.

Because I kind of do know it, actually, and it’s wonderful. I’ve known it since Drabble’s The Sea Lady came out in 2007, then The Pattern in the Carpet in 2009, and now as I’m reading Drabble’s collected stories A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman. New Drabble prose: precious and rare . I savour every bit of it, and even when there’s no new Drabble in my immediate future, I am comforted by knowing that in this very room, Margaret Drabble is busy cooking up more.

One thought on “Drabbling 2011”

  1. judy pollard smith says:

    A Day In The Life Of A Smiling Woman is one of the best short stories I have read, ever.
    But in the meantime, I want her drapes.

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