Tuesday Teaser

In between reading the books shown on the sidebar (Black and Blue and Can Any Mother Help Me?) I’ve also read the beginning of William Fiennes’s  The Music Room, which I borrowed from the library three weeks ago. It’s due back today and I’ve got to decide whether to renew it or return it. Some of it really interests me and makes me want to continue reading but other parts are rather boring and make me put the book to one side. It’s a gentle book, written with sensitivity and warmth.

It’s the story of William Fiennes childhood. It reads in parts like a novel, but is actually a memoir. He lived in a moated castle, in a beautiful setting with his parents, and older brothers and sister. Richard, eleven years older than him suffered from severe epilepsy, which has a profound effect on the family. I like the descriptive passages in this book and the details about the family, the loving memories that William evokes. The castle is open to the public part of the time and is also used by film crews and he was entranced by the filming as well as by the actors. Just fancy meeting Eric Morecambe when you’re five and he asks if you’re married, or selling Ian McKellen a postcard.

Here’s his description of the castle:

Our house was almost seven hundred years old, a medieval beginning transformed in the sixteenth century into a Tudor stately home, a castle surrounded by a broad moat, with woods, farmland and a landscaped park on the far side and a gatehouse tower guarding the two-arched stone bridge, the island’s only point of access and departure.

The gatehouse doors hung on rusty iron hinges, grids of sun-bleached vertical and cross beams, like the gates of an ancient city, a Troy or Jericho, creaking like ships as you manoeuvred them. (page 4)

Interspersed with the narrative about his family are sections on early experiments with electricity which, although interesting in themselves, slow down the book for me and make me impatient for the author to get on with his story.

But looking at the book again this morning has revived my interest in it. I hope I can renew it

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Teaser

  1. It’s a very… romantic quote, no? It’s so vivid and elegant that I expect to find it in a rich historical novel. The style seems kind of overwritten for a memoir, but I can’t deny that it makes me want to read more.


  2. Beautiful passage. Biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs are tricky things. It is so easy for a writer to get bogged down in details that may not interest the reader. My favorite writer of biography is David McCullough because he brings his subjects alive, and hundreds of pages just fly by.


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