Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fried egg sandwich = good for the soul

...but not the arteries.

Mmm drippy goodness.

Today, I am back to being myself again. Last night I was Kitty Killer, at my friends' "Champagne Murder Mystery" dinner party, and I got to be a sleek, sexy journalist/biographer. I wore a frizzy yellow-blonde wig, retro leather boots, and a surprisingly nice charity shop dress (the closest I could find to 1967 fashion for under £5). I also wore a silly grin on my face and put on a really bad Deep South American accent, because for some reason I thought my character wanted to be from Tennessee. An unknown figure was murdered, we were told (our invisible host, Lord Michael Jagged apparently met his end within the confines of his bedroom with an open bottle of champagne next to him) and by the light of a gas lamp, between sips of fruity California vino and bites of delicious chicken in red wine sauce, we speculated on who did it. Fingers were pointed. Accusations were made. Dessert was an artform. (Cheesecake in served up in shot glasses, etc.: fun and mouthwatering.) I stumbled through my script. I improvised. I giggled.

It was a very, very good night.

(It wasn't me, if you are wondering.) A fried egg sandwich is sometimes the only thing that can bring you back to yourself. That and a strong cup of coffee. Perhaps two strong cups of coffee.

What's this about Rachel Cusk, you ask?

You didn't?

Well you're wondering now, aren't you?

Saving Agnes.

I read this because it won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1993. The Whitbread is now called the Costa Book awards. Kate Atkinson won this same award as well as the Book of the Year award a couple years later for her book Behind the Scenes at the Museum. The Whitbread/Costa Book Award tends to go to people who write extremely well, and who also show the good, the bad and the ugly (so the literary-ness) in UK-based novels. Ironically Rachel Cusk grew up in Los Angeles but moved to East Anglia, and went to Oxford. She published Saving Agnes when she was twenty-six.

At first I had a hard time with this book because Cusk's syntax and sentence structure are very kind of, I don't know, Victorian. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I had a difficult time reading it because I had gone directly from Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars to this. And it seems like sometimes in Cusk I'm re-reading the same sentence three times to get the flow of it. If you can read Charles Dickens, you can read this.

But after so many pages of it, your mind kind of gets in tune with it - well mine did, anyway - and I found I really enjoyed it. She reminded me a lot of Sylvia Plath in this kind of coming-of-age, discovering-yourself story. I thought it was beautiful.

So I highly recommend it.

That's all for today folks. Have a super-lovely Sunday.

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