Sunday, October 10, 2010

Out Stealing Horses And A Scone

This seems to have become a recurrent type of posts on AUREA - snapshots of a book I'm reading and a scone or other delicious snack. Above, a macchiato and a corn-blueberry scone (at Groundwork, on Rose in Venice) await me together with Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses. In this novel, an elderly man, who lives with his dog Lyra in a remote cabin in the Norwegian wilderness, remembers his youth. The forests and the fjords are ever present, and if the weather is sometimes described in exquisite details, it is probably because in those parts of the world the climactic conditions mean life or death. Sometimes a couple of sentences stand out like Japanese haikus, terse and expressive - for instance, page 121:
A swan comes in to land. Soon there will be ice on the lake.
But mostly, it is a poignant coming of age story with echoes of Turgenev's splendid First Love - I can't say more without giving it away...

And speaking of harrowing literature, have you heard that a poem about Sylvia Plath's suicide, by Ted Hughes, was just found in his papers? It's extraordinary. Hear Jonathan Pryce read a passage from it.

20 comments:

Vanessa said...

Scones and books - what a great combination. I should really make some this week to enjoy with my novel. Thanks for the book tip; I have a fondness for Scandinavian literature and this sounds absolutely wonderful. The Hughes poem is so raw and haunting; I saw it last week in the papaer when it was rediscovered but read aloud, it's even more powerful. Such a sad destiny.

Joanna said...

Food and books--what could be better? Both are nourishing and are meant to be savored. I love Groundwork, too. And that book sounds poetic and lovely.

I heard Jonathan Pryce read from the Hughes poem last week. Incredibly haunting. I ended up watching the entire film Sylvia (with Gwyneth Paltrow) on youtube to celebrate her life. Makes me want to read her journals.

If Jane said...

love that you always read!
oh wow!!! must read it!

(just came back from paris...and one night i was in the marais with my cousin at
http://www.parisdanse.com/webcam-paris/webcam-paris.asp
i immediately thought of you!!!) xx

Mary-Laure said...

VANESSA - I'm only beginning to discover Scandinavian literature. If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

JOANNA - actually, Sylvia is next on my Netflix DVD queue! I don't like Gwyneth Paltrow so I'm a bit dubious about her playing Plath, but hopefully I'll enjoy it.
If you're ever at Groundwork in Venice, give me a call! I live right around the corner.

IF JANE - oh it's so GREAT that you went to the Centre de Danse du Marais!!!
I hope you had a great time in Paris.

Annie said...

The scone looks yummy and so does the book.
I love Sylvia Plath (I did not really like the film that much)and this Hughes poem is powerful.
xoxo

Laura in Paris said...

I have to read this book, sounds the type of reading I enjoy.

Sammi said...

I know, I heard about the poem Ted Hughes wrote too, its fascinating!!!

Keith said...

Food and books are two of my favorite things in the world. That book looks interesting and I love scones. Have a great week.

Mary-Laure said...

LAURA - I just KNOW you're going to like it.

KEITH - yes, food and books, not only are they great but they also go very well together.

Giulia said...

Ah, I have not read this but have been tempted. Yet again.

marie-louise said...

Coffee, cake and a good book = top

Hello, I haven't seen you for a long time, it was nice to have a look in here:)

Mlle Paradis said...

haven't been here for a while but what a treat! loved the sargent post, the paintings of the lilies is one of my all time favorites just an extraordinarily gorgeous painting....thx!

Rina said...

Hola Mary Laure! me encanta esto que nos cuentes que estas leyendo, de hecho tengo un nuevo blog al cual te quiero invitar para hacerte una entrevista, aqui te dejo algo para que veas de que se trata, se que te va a gustar
http://clubbibliofilia.blogspot.com/
Ese muffin y cafe se ven exquisitos!
Un abrazo!

Rina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KindredSpirit said...

nothing better than cakes n books. the plath find is amazing - i couldn't believe it.

That book sounds great - have you read Tove Janson's books for adults - the summer book is my favourite. your description reminded me a little of that. it's a child and her grandmother on a remote scandinavian island - a series of little vingettes. i love it.

Mary-Laure said...

MARIE-LOUISE & MLLE PARADIS - it's great to see you back on Aurea!

RINA - que lindo que tengas un nuevo blog, lo voy a mirar ahora mismo.

KINDRED SPIRIT - thanks for that book recommendation, I am definitely going to look it up.

Christine said...

Very moving, and so sad.

I have yet to read pettersson - I have heard so many good things about Out Stealing ... should be his best. Do you like it?

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I enjoyed Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses. He's recently published a new book I'm looking forward to reading as well. I watched the segment on Last Letter and am thinking about it all, their relationship, their work, her depression, authors and poetry in general... So much to consider. Thank you.

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Am currently reading Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes - a brilliant read might I add and so enoyable, too, though somewhat melancholy at times.

Mary-Laure said...

CHRISTINE - yes, Out Stealing Horses is great, I highly recommend it.

DENISE - I'm ordering Pettersen's new book as soon as it comes out in paperback...

FASHION... - Birthday Letters is one of my favorite poem collections ever. It speaks to my heart.