Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm reading: Pure by Andrew Miller

Pure by Andrew Miller - Photograph by Tim Irving
The book I chose from Shakespeare and Company in Paris, and my current read is Pure by Andrew Miller. The choice is unusual for me because this book won the Costa book of the year in 2011 and I generally avoid paying for any book that has won a literary award. After reading all the accolades on the cover (Irresistibly compelling, Superb, Dazzling, Gripping), I'm usually dreading being under whelmed by the contents. No so with this book.

I'm half way through and Pure is shaping up nicely and well worth my twelve euros. Set in pre-revolutionary Paris, it's the story of a young engineer given the task of demolishing the oldest cemetery in the heart of the city. The cemetery is overflowing and casts a blight on those who live nearby. The project starts as a great opportunity for the young engineer to make a name for himself. But obviously things don't go to plan. I wont say anymore as it would spoil it for you. Miller is a very good writer, the book is packed with energy and colour. It's an ambitious novel that I'm finding hard to put down.

1 comment:

  1. I tend to alternate between fiction and non-fiction books. I'm just finishing up one of the latter, so I'll track down a copy of "Pure" to read next. It sounds solidly worth it on all fronts.

    It's Friday, and I always feel in the mood for a movie on Fridays! I like the photo you posted in your shop today of the tiny black and white Latin Quarter theatre. A color photograph of a subject that is all blacks and whites is wonderful. The minute clues of other colors on the pavement and windows come to me only eventually, a gentle break in the beautiful polarized tension of dark and light.

    I've been hoping for an opportunity to share O'Neill's childrens poem for the color black. This is my favorite of all her color impressions:

    What is Black? Black is the night when there isn't a star, and you can't tell by looking where you are. Black is a pail of paving tar. Black is jet, and things you'd like to forget. Black is a smokestack, black is a cat, a leopard, a raven, a high silk hat. The sound of black is "Boom! Boom! Boom!" echoing in an empty room. Black is kind, it covers up the run-down street, the broken cup. Black is charcoal and patio grill, the soot spots on the window sill. Black is a feeling hard to explain, like suffering but without the pain. Black is licorice and patent leather shoes, black is the print in the news. Black is beauty in its deepest form, the darkest cloud in a thunderstorm. Think of what starlight and lamplight would lack, diamonds and fireflies, if they couldn't lean against black.



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