Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Oddny Eir : Land of Love and Ruins

Having been a life-long journal keeper I am always interested in reading the journals of others. Mine are probably not of much interest to anyone except myself. Many years ago I was writing in my journal after dinner and my mother-in-law asked,

‘What have you just written?’

I read the words out to her,

‘I hear the washing machine spin out of balance’. She said nothing but I could tell by her expression she was deeply unimpressed. Continue reading Oddny Eir : Land of Love and Ruins

Deborah Levy : Real Estate

Real Estate is the third in Deborah Levy’s trilogy of what she calls ‘living autobiography.’ In The Cost of Living Levy relates how she (or the ‘I’ character who is close to her, if not actually her) leaves her marriage of twenty-three years when her daughters have come to late teenage years. She moves from the family home to a place of her own, a flat in a ‘crumbling apartment block’. Some of that story is about her search for a writing space and the way she gradually creates a new life for herself and her daughters while still maintaining a fairly amicable relationship with their father. Continue reading Deborah Levy : Real Estate

R.L. Stevenson – A Child’s Garden of Verses

On my recent holiday I became reacquainted with a beloved old companion. As a young child I used to lie in bed reading A Child’s Garden of Verses. To me they seemed to be the observations of a lonely child and that struck a chord with me. I loved the rhythm, as in Windy Night

Whenever the moon and stars are set

Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet,

A man goes riding by.

Late at night when the fires are out

Why does he gallop and gallop about? Continue reading R.L. Stevenson – A Child’s Garden of Verses