'Which book was that?'
'Beyond Black, by Hilary Mantel.' It's not exactly the case that I couldn't put it down, since I had to put it aside for all kinds of reasons, but I finished it, which is more than can be said for most of the books I start. It has a glowing comment on the cover by Philip Pullman, 'one of the greatest ghost stories in the language,' which seems strong for a book that gets steadily less frightening as one reads on. The story is that of a medium who is pursued by fiends.
The owner and I, anyway, talk on. His name is John Russell. He explains that he wanted to live in Germany, and it's hard for Americans to get permission. So for a while he and his friends ran an online bookstore, and they all managed to survive selling books online. He then got the idea of having a small shop, which you can afford to do here, he explains, because it's so cheap: he's paying 500 euros a month for the shop, on a year-and-a-half contract. He's not sure if it was a good idea, it's just about breaking even but it's much more work. The main thing is, though, that it allows him to stay in the country.
I am very impressed by this. Every so often I pass empty commercial premises for rent and think of opening a shop and then don't.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
I come home and get an e-mail from a reader asking why there is little display of emotion in The Last Samurai.
mens conscia something something something tristatur