Sunday, 6 April 2014


I finished The French Lieutenant’s Woman tonight and felt numb. I tried to remember why I bought the book in the first place. Did somebody recommend it? I didn’t think so. And then I recalled going into the second hand book shop in Uttoxeter, looking for the next bit of cosy fireside reading to keep me amused through a few dark winter’s nights. Nothing took my fancy except The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which jumped up and down on the shelf, waving.

I don’t recall a novel ever leaving me feeling numb before. Take tonight, for example. Charles has found Sarah and they’ve engaged in their final, anguished conversation. I had to put the book down at one point. It was getting too tough and I needed to summon the wherewithal to see it through. Too familiar. Too many rattling skeletons, gibbering ghosts, snarling gremlins – call them what you will. It was never cosy fireside reading.

We leave Charles probably heading back to America, there to live out his fractured life and end his days. I wonder where I’ll end mine.

This topic is now closed. Off for some light relief, courtesy of barley juice and Japanese phantoms.

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