The book I’m currently reading is A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel, a huge book of 872 pages. I’m only on page 136, so it’s early days. In fact so far it’s been setting the scene of pre-Revolutionary France as seen through the key characters of Georges-Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins. I’m liking it and it brings back to my mind history lessons at school when we listed the causes of the French Revolution.
This extract summarises, I think, the mood of the times in 1788:
Nothing changes. Nothing new. The same old dreary crisis atmosphere. The feeling that it can’t get much worse without something giving way. but nothing does. Ruin, collapse, the sinking ship of state: the point of no return, the shifting balance, the crumbling edifice and the sands of time. Only the cliche flourishes. (page 130)
Not long afterwards everything changed!