Monday, June 4, 2007

Innocent or experienced?

I recently completed the reading of Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier. Never having been totally interested in history, her stories reveal much to me of a time past. Motivated by a piece of art, literature, tapestry, grave-marker or other article having survived a preceding era, Ms. Chevalier generates characters, many previously-existing, others fabricated, which unveil the essence of the period that they lived in. The lurid and garish Astley circus, the craft of button-making, hand-crafted Windsor chairs, the functioning of a printing press, peculiar habits in the life of William Blake are disclosures of the culture all set in Georgian England, outgrowth of the revolt taking place in France.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, a book of poems by Blake motivates a resounding theme of opposites throughout the novel. There is Maggie, the loud, street-wise, sassy gal of the big city, never fearing to venture out. Jem, differing, is the close kept son of a chair-maker and carpenter who finds himself in the hazardous, hostile, often intimidating and unfriendly city of London after spending his early years in the lesser village of Piddletrenthide, countryside. Along with members of their families, the escapades begin. I enjoy reading of times long-ago in this format, historical fiction, a great deal more than mind-numbing (yawn) history books. Ms. Chevalier, through her rich, full characters, expressive settings and vivid language carries me back to an earlier time to pay a visit.

Ms. Chevalier is writing yet another book. On this occasion she is inspired by the life of Mary Anning who discovered pre-dinosaur fossils on the shores and cliffs of the English coast. She Sells Sea Shells has grabbed my attention!

Next in the pile of books to read:

Nature Girl
by Carl Hiaasen

1 comment:

workinthatpreppy(ADN) said...

Wow! What a great review...Thanks for participating!