Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories
Mr. Aubrey is writing downe all that he can remember of the customes of former times. He smells of brandy and chalke and is finely spotted all over with Inke. He haz pieces of paper in all his pockets on which he is writing his Histories. He is a Member of the Royal society. He is my deare Friend. He is putting down all the lives of Great and Ingeniose men so that their Genius may not be forgot. Mr. Aubrey sayz that he is like a man plucking out spars and relicks from the Shipwreck of Time and tossing them upon the sand. But, sayz Mr. Aubrey, the Waters of Oblivion have the best of it.
--From On Lickerish Hill
I picked up The Ladies of Grace Adieu from my library on a whim. It was on the "newly released" bookshelf and it rather jumped out at me. I'd read a review or two but really didn't know what to expect. Short stories about fairies and magic? I thought that was what I remembered; but, if anything, it was the old-style cover with charming pink flowers that clinched the deal. I didn't even look inside.
At home, I read the first and title story: The Ladies of Grace Adieu. The story of three magical ladies charmed me so completely that I was actually a little nervous about reading the next short story. That's the problem with an anthology; you just never know whether the next story is going to be as exciting, interesting, or awful as the last one. But, then I read the second story, On Lickerish Hill - about a young woman who needs a fairy's help but has no idea how to get herself out of the tangle of his requirements - and I was completely hooked. Add to the charm and magic of Clarke's stories the stunning illustrations by Charles Vess and you have a book that deserves a place on the good shelves and a few rereads.
Darned if it didn't have to be a library book. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a copy of my own. I'm not going to go into great detail except to say that I thought the stories were incredibly inventive and captivating (because it's raining, here, and that means the migraine has returned). There was only one story that I felt left me hanging and I decided to just give it my own mental ending; just a quarter-point off for that tiny bit of dangling.
Coming up: A Wahoo! Wednesday post . . . and I still need to write a Chunkster Check-in post.
This week and next may be a couple of light-posting weeks because the kiddo is taking the Red Cross Lifesaving Course and attending after-school swim practice with the high school team. Lots of driving and sitting poolside for Mom. There is gunk in my dryer from a piece of gum the youngster left in his jeans pocket, so I have a backlog of wet beach towels that I need to get to; but, first I have to figure out how to remove gunk from a device that heats without blowing up my home. Suggestions are welcome. More later!