Monthly Archives: March 2022

Edvard Munch

The Gerts are known for their love of things Norwegian. Today a little bow to Edvard Munch, a lonely and even tortured man who has become widely known for The Scream.

I prefer his earlier work and his later work, when he let his eye and hand celebrate the beauty around him. Here is Karl Ove Knausgaard on this painting.

One of Munch’s first good paintings was Garden with Red House from 1822, the summer he was eighteen. The format is small, only 23 by 30.5 centimetres, the motif is a garden in summer, lush foliage and grass flooded with sunlight, in many nuances of green, with a red cottage beneath a blue sky in the background, which sets up a yearning in the painting and also  sense of pleasure, for if his ambition in painting was perhaps a modest one and extended no further than a wish to master the motif and his joy in the colours and the light, it works nevertheless; it is difficult to look at the painting and not feel uplifted.

K O Knausgaard : So Much Longing in So Little Space

For my April project I plan to read, and write about, eight books by and about very old women.

April is my birthday month, and as our grumpy uncle used to say, ‘Another year closer to the grave.’

It hasn’t quite come to that,  but I feel it’s time to read some ‘coming of death’ stories.

I got the idea from this article by the wonderful Heidi Sopinka (who has a new novel coming out in November.)

8 Old-Lady Novels That Prove Life Doesn’t End at 80

Sam Savage : Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife

Do you ever come to a point in your reading where you feel that if you have to read another book about middle class marriages gone wrong or young women struggling against hideous adversity you will scream? Perhaps not, but as one for whom reading is a way of life sometimes I am overwhelmed by the horrid thought, ‘Am I tired of reading?’ And panic sets in. What would I do if I didn’t read? I have had my head in a book since I was four years old, and that Dear Readers, is a very long time ago. In this case my prescription for myself is to read something so bizarre and from such a different world there is no possibility of being bored. Continue reading Sam Savage : Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife

Lily King : Euphoria

In 1933 Margaret Mead and her husband Reo Fortune, both anthropologists, were in flight from a particularly hostile tribe. They were about to give up on New Guinea and return to Australia when they met the English anthropologist, Geoffrey Bateson. Bateson himself was also in a bad way. His two older brothers, the hope of the family, were both dead, one by suicide and one in the First World war. He had just made an unsuccessful suicide attempt and was questioning the whole purpose of his life as an anthropologist. Margaret Mead and her husband had their own problems. She had had great success with her book Coming of Age in Samoa, a vivid account of adolescent life in Samoa, published when she was only twenty-seven years old. She had been married once, had a relationship with Ruth Benedict, a colleague, and had met Fortune on the boat back to America. They had been married for only two years, but already differences were emerging between them and Fortune’s jealousy of her achievements, which sometimes showed itself in violence towards her, was eating away at him. Continue reading Lily King : Euphoria