Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Atmosphere in the country

I too liked A Month for its gentle, understated plot and characters. I think its strongest point was in the atmosphere it created; the magic of a long,lazy Summer. It reminded me of L.P.Hartley's The Go-Between in that sense (although I was 16 when I last read it so my memory may be a little hazy): a rural idyll with forbidden emotions bubbling gently away under the surface, although admittedly A Month was nowhere near as epic.

I liked the 'uncovering secret loves' theme; physically portrayed in the painting and echoed in Birkin's desire for Mrs Keach, Moon's homosexuality and the dead artist's Islamic faith (having fallen off the scaffold - at least, that was how I understood the ending Emily). I have yet to see the film in order to compare but certainly intend to.

I didn't feel the need for anymore plot as it would have run the danger of making the book feel too 'busy'. I wonder if we have become so used to such fast paced lives that we expect our literature to be the same; stimulating us at lots of different levels (intellectually, emotionally, spirtitually etc.) in order for us to feel satisfied. I liked the fact that I had to 'slow down' to read this and enjoy being immersed in a world where people went on a picnic in a horse and cart and where the love remained unconsummated and suspended unsaid, rather than being the start of a torrid, angst-ridden, family break-up affair. Afterall, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."