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Pickle Me This

March 28, 2012

Funny reread

Funny reread of Byatt’s The Children’s Book, and I’m convinced that furious consumption was how it meant to be read, in fact, and that I got it right the first time. When I read 600+ pages in just three days because my life depended on it. This time, I picked it up again and I’ve been so busy the last week or so that I could only manage it in small amounts, amounts too small for me to get caught up in the story before I had to put it down again. And all that picking up and putting down was hard work for a book that was so enormous. I found myself skimming the surface of the narrative instead of getting lost inside it, and the surface of this novel is so many-sided that it was disorienting. I would much rather get lost in a wood than slide down a polyhedron. Also surprised to find the novel so much less “about” the things I’d thought it was about– fairy tales, childhood, families, Edwardian England, history etc– than embodying the things themselves. The effect is overwhelming. It’s a truly brilliant novel but I will have to re-reread it again when I’ve cleared enough space in my head to totally devote to it.

Anyway, I also have to read the biography of E. Nesbit now as per here, which I probably should have just done instead of rereading The Children’s Book. More insight into Byatt’s influences for the novel here.

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