First of all, check out the new Diversify Your Reading blog, a “a clearinghouse of blog reviews of books by authors underrepresented in English-language publishing today.” There are lists of authors and books from around the world with links to the blogs that reviewed them. You are welcome and encouraged to add links to your own reviews on the site. I just added a bunch of links today. I think it’s a great idea for a blog and a wonderful place to find out about books from a whole range of authors.
I want to write a review of Raymond Chandler’s novel Farewell, My Lovely and write about last night’s mystery book group meeting, but for tonight, I think I’ll post a long passage from Stevie Smith’s Novel on Yellow Paper, which is the next Slaves of Golconda read (discussion to begin on January 31st).
I’m not entirely sure what I think about the novel, but it does have some utterly charming passages. This is one where the narrator talks about what kind of novel she is writing, and I’m a sucker for this kind of metafictional approach.
But first, Reader, I will give you a word of warning. This is a foot-off-the-ground novel that came by the left hand. And the thoughts come and go and sometimes they do not quite come and I do not pursue them to embarrass them with formality to pursue them into a harsh captivity. And if you are a foot-off-the-ground person I make no bones to say that is how you will write and only how you will write. And if you are a foot-on-the-ground person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation. So put it down. Leave it alone. It was a mistake you made to get this book. You could not know.
And it is not to be proud I say: I am a foot-off-the-ground person; or to be superior that I say: Foot-on-the-ground person — Keep out. It is to save you an exasperation and weariness that have now already hardly brought you to this early page.
But if you do not know whether you are a foot-off-the-ground person or a foot-on-the-ground person, then I say, Come on. Come on with me, and find out.
And for my part I will try to punctuate this book to make it easy for you to read, and to break it up, with spaces for a pause, as the publisher has asked me to do. But this I find very extremely difficult.
For this book is the talking voice that runs on, and the thoughts come, the way I said, and the people come too, and come and go, to illustrate the thoughts, to point the moral, to adorn the tale.
Oh talking voice that is so sweet, how hold you alive in captivity, how point you with commas, semi-colons, dashes, pauses and paragraphs?
Foot-on-the-ground person will have his grave grave doubts, and if he is also a smug-pug he will not keep his doubts to himself; he will say: It is not, and it cannot come to good. And I shall say, yes, it is and shall. And he will say: So you think you can do this, so you do, do you?
Yes I do, I do.
That is my final word to smug-pug. You all now have been warned.
I appreciate an author who warns me about what I will find in the book I’m about to read. As for being a foot-on-or-off-the-ground kind of person, I don’t really know what I am, so I’m coming along to find out.