Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kerry Clare on Cynthia Flood

Over at her blog Pickle Me This, Kerry Clare has a rave review of Cynthia Flood's The English Stories. This was a title I really thought might have had some shot at a Giller longlist, at the very least, especially when one considered the makeup of the jury. The good news is that word of mouth is doing very well for this collection, and we're working our way through the last boxes of the initial print run: perhaps a reprint will be necessary. This is as it should be, as this is one of a handful of the best books we've published here at Biblioasis, which I for one think is saying quite a lot.

More good news: according to Kerry, all of the copies of The English Stories in the Toronto Public Library are currently out. So if you live in the GTA and hope to read it soon, might be best to head on down to Ben McNally or Nicholas Hoare or Type Books or your favourite neighbourhood bookseller (even these guys seem to be keeping it in stock, at least for now) and pick yourself up a copy.

From the review:

This was an England not long out of war, in the throes of an age of austerity, coming to terms (or not yet) with fundamental changes in values and beliefs, and grappling with centuries of a empirical past that was quickly becoming irrelevant. And though Flood's protagonist is young, her stories' themes are not, which becomes the point-- Amanda struggling with the gap between the world as it is and her limited understanding. Understanding which is little achieved here, for Amanda is only eleven after all, and then just twelve, and thirteen. Far too young yet for "coming of age" and Flood doesn't do such neat resolutions anyway.

What she does do is a marvelous sentence: "At lunch on the rainy February day the King died, the sweet was custard and stewed damsons" opens "Early in the Morning", or "The Spring term in which Kay died and Constance disappeared from St. Mildred's, and I broke my glasses featured a school wide obsession with mealtime talk of sex" begins "Magnificat". These sentences both convey the way in Flood encapsulates the world wide and near, the great and small, inside her literary universe.

Read the rest here.

No comments: