Saturday, July 09, 2005

I have scandalously frittered away the entire day

reading 6 novels by Georgette Heyer. Antonia Fraser has a good remark somewhere in one of her Jemima Shore books about all intellectual women in their 30s and 40s having once had a passion for Heyer (Jemima's teenage favorite, as I remember, is the protagonist of the second one in the following list, which I've ordered from best downwards--they are all very delightful, but of course it's idiotic to read them in a row like this, as the pattern wears thin and some of the characters are more appealing than others): Sylvester, Devil's Cub, False Colours, The Convenient Marriage, Regency Buck (which I'm afraid is a very silly title) and Lady of Quality. They are written in a language all their own (it's well-researched, of course, but wholly Heyer's rather than anything you could find in the letters or novels of the Regency, though you can often see where she gets things from), in a world that she built like science-fiction writers build worlds. In the weakest books, you see the machinery and experience the whole thing as pastiche, but the best of them are really something extraordinary.

The highlight of my afternoon otherwise was reading the publicity letter from Anne Rice that accompanied a review copy of her new novel about Jesus, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. I am actually sort of dying to read the book, not sure when I'll get to it though, but the last paragraph of the letter is priceless:

I'm not a priest. I can't be one. I'll never be able to go to the altar of the Lord and say the words of consecration at Mass, 'This is my body. This is my blood.' No, I can't work that magnificent Eucharistic miracle. But in humility, I have attempted something transformative which we writers dare to call a miracle in the imperfect human idiom we possess. It's to bring Him here in the form of a story, and that story is Christ The Lord.

On that note, I will sign off.

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