The Boy picked this for me because he said it sounded like my kind of book. I think he just saw the mention to the english countryside on the back cover and thought of me, which is quite appropriate really. Well, he was right, I loved this book!
It is a recollection of the author’s younger years spent in the Cotswolds, where the facts are deliciously mixed with childish fantasy and the ancient folklore myths of the land. The book is written in a very lyrical style, all the descriptions of the sounds, the smells, the people are delightful and rich. The chapters about Lee’s family and the quirky cottage they lived in were incredible, the fact that his memory was distorted by time and emotion only added to the beauty of the book.
I think this was such a romantic book, like a love song to a place that has now changed forever. I do believe it was the perfect book to follow the great but rather bleak Easter Parade by Richard Yates. Below are a couple of passages that I liked:
“Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples, and Rosie’s burning cheeks. Never to be forgotten, or even tasted again…”
“Myself, my family, my generation, were born in a world of silence; a world of hard work and necessary patience, of backs bent to the ground, hands massaging the crops, of waiting on weather and growth; of villages like ships in the empty landscapes and the long walking distances between them; of white narrow roads, rutted by hooves and cart-wheels, innocent of oil or petrol, down which people passed rarely, and almost never for pleasure, and the horse was the fastest thing moving.”