Saturday, 6 July 2019

THE BEGINNING OF SPRING by Penelope Fitzgerald


This is the story of a man whose wife leaves him, with the children.  She returns then returns them at the first opportunity.   It is set in Russia in the early twentieth century.

I was stunned by Fitzgerald’s THE BLUE FLOWER, which mysteriously out of a few bits of nothing created a profound meditation on life’s brevity.  This was also a few bits of nothing, but somehow it didn’t quite come together in the same way.  Like THE BLUE FLOWER, those bits of nothing are in their own way remarkable.  Based on the last book, I thought she must be some kind of expert on domestic life in eighteenth century Germany, so specific and detailed was the world.  THE BEGINNING OF SPRING makes me think that in fact she must be an expert on twentieth century Russia.   Really I guess she is just some sort of magician. 

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