|First Read||May 30, 2021|
Hard to know what to say about this - I'm a real fan of Spufford, and this is one of those books that feels like a gift to me, personally. Charming, interesting, lyrical in a specific way that I know doesn't suit everybody. And like Marilyn Robinson, it strikes me as generous, both in its gifts to us as readers but first and foremost in its treatment of the characters.
I had the impression reading Zadie Smith's On Beauty, that she knows these characters so intimately and just chooses to excoriate them, so everyone is despicable. It's SO impressive. But with Spufford I feel that he has that same power of x-ray vision into a made-up soul, and the same specific power of sharp characterization - and then takes a compassionate approach that makes me love his characters. The power is just as sharp, it just chooses to extend kindness and understanding rather than spite.
Noted on June 24, 2021