I went on a visit to Lincoln today and revisited the Cathedral. Last time I only had my iPhone so today I took my Sony A7r.
Whilst I was there I chanced upon a couple who asked my if they could use a rather secluded staircase that probably was out of bounds. I said I didn’t see why not so they rushed up to see the view. While they were up there I called out to the guy and took a pic.
I’m rather pleased with it.
Here is another one with reflections on the stone floor of the light coming through the stain glass windows.
The Cement Garden (Kindle Edition)
Author Ian McEwan
Publisher : Vintage
In the Cement Garden we discover Jack who declares in the opening sentence “I did not kill my father, but I sometimes think I helped him on his way”.
Jack and his sister Julie are the eldest of four children and they have a younger sister Sue and a brother Tom who is the the youngest.
We learn of their father’s death some time after having ordered a fair number of sacks of cement. Their mother becomes bedridden and we discover how the children cope by themselves with a difficult situation that deteriorates considerably.
Jack narrates the story and is the most clearly delineated of the children and whereas he defies social norms of cleanliness, each of his siblings has his or her own bizarre and dysfunctional way of dealing with a family situation that is coming apart.
The Cement Garden has justly been described as a tour de force of psychological unease and although it’s a short book, that doesn’t mean that it’s either shallow or uninteresting. The author conjures up uncomfortably plausible outcomes that make the Cement Garden rich, disturbing and sometimes difficult to read.
I found it to be an interesting, well written but dark read.
The Girl With All The Gifts (Kindle edition)
M. R. Carey
Publisher: Orbit (14 Jan. 2014)
Melanie is a little girl who goes to school, has friends and loves books. She is inquisitive, intelligent and has a great memory. As the story unfolds we discover that she is underground in an army base with other children of her age. She is muzzled occasionally, and chained to her desk; and we discover she is part of an experiment. She seems to be a normal if gifted child until we discover what happens when she smells human flesh too closely.
We see the world through Melanie’s eyes but also those of Miss Justineau, her favourite teacher, who introduces her to Greek myths (including the story of the original girl with all the gifts, Pandora, and the box she opens). Then there’s Sergeant Parks, the man in charge of the base, and the scientist Caroline Caldwell, who would dearly like to open Melanie’s skull in order to find out why she’s so intelligent and why she represents such a menace to everybody.
Although the plot is fairly straight forward and linear it becomes evident that it could be made into a film and that is exactly what is happenening as M. C.Carey has equally written the screenplay.
The ending almost rushes out of nowhere but the strong characters – especially Melanie and Miss Justineau – are well drawn and it’s very difficult not to feel for them.
I don’t wish to to give away too much of the plot and take away the pleasure of discovery but it is a clever and often surprising ride and once Melanie finally visits the outside world, we discover a recognizeable but transformed version of Britain where Carey succeeds in creating a sense of constant menace.
The pace of the last 200 or so pages of this book increases a sense of tension and some scary situations are very well imagined.
Although it is not the sort of fiction I normally read, I enjoyed it cover to cover and would recommend it as a book club read as it would nourish some very interesting discussions.
My thoughts are as grey as seven day snow,
Entangled in shapeless heaps
that seem to fill my head, which risks to overflow.
I’m sure that I won’t find sleep
In this anguished and anxious state.
Even though my head is full to overflowing
I urge my heart take control,
as it has it’s own way of knowing,
how to escape this murky hole
and put an end to my minds dark debate.
Free falling and spiraling I continue my descent
While pleading desperately with my aching heart,
to regain the ascendance of this melancholic event.
And then, just before that fatal moment, when all comes apart,
I glance towards you and catch your smile.
I feel your warm touch on my troubled temperament
and the dissipation of my unwelcome anguish.
An instantaneous and welcoming betterment,
that causes my gloom to vanish,
then restores me softly and gently, for a precious while.
Graham Lawrence. 6th of July 2015
Dedicated, with eternal gratitude, to my wonderful wife Anne-Claude