Sunday 17 November 2019

Short post on a bright, chilly morning...

It definitely feels like winter is here. We’ve got snow and chilly temperatures, but it’s bright and clear this morning, and I’m looking forward to taking a long walk this afternoon after finishing this post.
I was hosting a Scholastic Book Fair at school this week, so I was staying a bit later each night, one night until after 7pm, leaving me with little time to read.  I did try one short novel, A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe, but I lost interest halfway through.  I ended up reading another (even shorter!) book, State of the Union:  a marriage in ten parts by Nick Hornby, and it was great!  I guess this is a companion to Hornby’s TV series, which came out on BBC this past autumn, consisting of ten ten-minute episodes.  This slim book is also written in ten parts, and follows Tom and Louise as they try to determine if their marriage is worth saving. After twenty years together, things have become boring and one or the other of these partners may have lost interest. Louise had a brief affair, but Tom is not entirely blameless, either, and they are going for ten marital counselling sessions in the hopes that it will help. They meet in a pub each week before their session, and we are treated to their exchanges as they discuss their relationship using witty dialogue and metaphors, comparing their marriage to Brexit, and analyzing the things they have in common, such as crosswords and “Game of Thrones”  (“...when it’s on”). They compare the loss of passion in their marriage to lost keys or a lost pen, and one partner wants to know which it is because a person would spend more time and determination looking for keys than a pen. This work consists almost entirely of dialogue, with what seems like setting and stage directions at the beginning of each part, so it felt very much like reading a screenplay, but it all works for this short but rewarding novella.  I would recommend this to anyone who has been in a relationship. But if you do decide to read it, don’t let the slimness of the volume fool you; you’ll want to read each line and section carefully and think about what their exchanges might mean for any marriage or relationship.
That’s all for today.  Enjoy the sunny day before the snow starts falling tonight.
Bye for now…

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