Today’s Sunday Salon post is a bit brief. We’ve been away for the last two days, travelling to Scotland and back and I’m rather tired, and have only read for a short time today. I began reading The Shipping News a while back and picked that up again this morning. It’s one of the books that I’d put to one side after watching Atonement and deciding to re-read that book.
I need to refresh my memory of what I’d already read – I’m up to chapter 8. Quoyle, a journalist has taken his two daughters and aunt back to Newfoundland, where he was born, to pick up his life again after the death of his wife in a road accident. He has a job on the local newspaper reporting on car accidents and the shipping news and so far into my reading not much more has happened.
Quoyle who is not the most dynamic character, is a simple soul, easily manipulated by others. A “quoyle” is a coil of rope. The quotation heading chapter 1 adds “A Flemish flake is a spiral coil of one layer only. It is made on deck, so that it may be walked on if necessary”, which seems to describe Quoyle. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1994 and it’s described on the back cover as “an irresistible comedy of hunan life and possibility.” I’m looking forward to reading more.
But I just had to carry on reading Toast, which I started on Friday, so The Shipping News has lost out again. I’m now over half-way through Toast, which is so good. Nigel Slater has a way of describing food, so that you can almost taste it and there is the additional pleasure of remembering all sorts of food and treats from my childhood – sweets like Refreshers, Love Hearts and Sherbet Fountains, crisps with salt in the separate little blue twist of waxed paper, drinks such as cream soda, pudding like rice pudding, and Heinz Sponge Puddings that you steamed in the tin – I could go on and on. Interspersed with his descriptions of food are his memories of his childhood, becoming increasingly poignant as I read further on. I’m sure I’ll be sad when I’ve finished this book.