Category Archives: Artists

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

J L Carr – A Month in the Country


Last week we wrote about two elderly Swedish men, working together, trying to do a job in between drinks and reminiscences of life.

This week we have another novella with two men working side by side on projects for which they are well qualified. The difference is these two men are young, in their twenties, and both suffering trauma following their involvement in World War 1. Continue reading J L Carr – A Month in the Country

Indelicacy – Amina Cain



She works as a cleaner in a museum. It is hard to work out the time and place. She speaks of carriages and long dresses, yet also of the beach and bathing costumes. She lives alone and walks freely through the streets. Sometimes she might eat a small meal alone in a cheap cafe. She has no family that she sees, and in the beginning, only one friend. She speaks later of visiting Brazil, but it is hard to get a sense of where she is living. Continue reading Indelicacy – Amina Cain

Station Eleven- Emily St John Mandel

Emily St John Mandel wrote Station Eleven in 2014, eleven years post SARS, but well before our present pandemic. I read it a few weeks ago and hesitated to publish my comments, as it concerns a pandemic which has wiped out 99% of the population of the world. It is our current situation greatly multiplied, but still her key hopeful ideas remain true. That the arts and music keep society alive, as does remembering or somehow piecing together our history.  But above all it is the cooperation of the tribe that makes life start again and where meaning is generated. Continue reading Station Eleven- Emily St John Mandel