This is what our back yard looks like, at present. A parent of a friend of M came over last night and was horrified. I suppose it is horrifying, but I actually like it. It reminds me of a Carl Larsson painting, or of our lake cottage when I was little. I’m in favor of wilderness.
I have been pulling weeds here and there, and the front yard is looking a little better, and there are parts of the back yard that are looking even civilized, but it’s actually really pleasant to sit way in the back corner surrounded by all grass.
I’ve finished The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, which was good, and Miss Buncle, Married, by D.E. Stevenson, which I really really loved, and am now in the middle of Marilynn Robinson’s Home which I am also loving.
The Miss Buncle books are wonderful, and an interesting trick about them is that the both end by dumping you out of fiction into real life. They both end with the resolution of a quandary involving Miss B’s books through a real life event. Which is nice, I think. In fact, is that what all those books which end in marriages are doing? You have whiled away these pleasant hours, and now we pop our characters, and you, dear reader, into real life? Hmm.
Home, well. What a book. I’m not finished, but first of all, how does she make something involving such sad and hopeless characters so readable? I can’t put it down, and it’s so sad. It’s as if she’s returned to her characters from Housekeeping, but they’ve returned to their childhood home and we’re privy to more of their thoughts. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It actually covers the same time period as Gilead, but from the viewpoint of Ames’s friend Boughton’s daughter Glory, and with particular attention to his son Jack, who is Ames’s namesake. We know parts of the story from Gilead which have not exactly been stated here, but I can’t quite remember them. Except that Jack has a son — which Glory and Jack’s father do not know, here.
Here is Jack’s blessing:
Jack glanced at Ames, who shrugged, and he began to read. ‘”Dear Father,”‘ he said. He paused and studied the paper, leaning into the candlelight. ‘My handwriting is very poor. I crossed some things out. “You are patient and gracious far beyond our deserving.”‘ He cleared his throat. ‘”You let us hope for your forgiveness when we can find no way to forgive ourselves. You bless our lives even when we can find no way to forgive ourselves. You bless our lives even when we have shown ourselves to be utterly ungrateful and unworthy. May we be strengthened and renewed, to make us less unworthy of blessing, though these your gifts of sustenance, of friendship and family.”‘
Jack is talking to his father, and to Ames, as much as he is to God, I think.
And the querulousness and crabbiness of the dying man is just right, too, not wanting Jack to play waltzes on the Sabbath, etc.
I don’t get it. I don’t get why Jack is so estranged from human life, and why that should matter, but it does seem to matter.
Maybe it’s when books somehow capture something important you don’t quite get that they seem so good.
Okay — I’m going back out.