Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Still Rising...

Suddenly had the urge to read this again. Fifth time, I think. 

It's a novel that has haunted me throughout the life cycle. It was an early recommendation from my father and he is present within it, in various guises. There really is no other work of fiction that I keep coming back to in this way. 

My original paperback copy; dates back to 1985, sixty years after first publication 

It's kind of intriguing to compare the things I highlighted last time with my current compulsions to highlight. There are still episodes which appear startlingly fresh. 

And it's fascinating to read about a slow, low-information news culture with Google to hand. 

For instance, of the three cafés mentioned in this paragraph, two are 'temporarily closed' presumably for #healthdictature reasons...

"No matter what café in Montparnasse you ask a taxi-driver to bring you to from the right bank of the river, they always take you to the Rotonde. Ten years from now it will probably be the Dome. It was near enough, anyway. I walked past the sad tables of the Rotonde to the Select." (...which remains open.)

Montparnasse is a part of Paris that I remember only rather dimly from my university days. On recent visits I have generally stayed north of the river. 

Never seen the movie from the 1950s and not really all that inclined to. Ava Gardener, an American, strikes me as a possible poor fit for Brett, but then Lady Ashley was always a magnificent caricature of English 'breeding'. 

I realise now that I have formed various impressions of the characters over the years, but the first have undoubtedly lingered. 

Brett was perhaps the prototype MPDG*, albeit champagne-sozzled. 

And although I remember consigning both her and Jake to the category of smug, permanently 'tight', degenerates in the course of my third reading (in the midst my 30s), she will never quite shed that 1980s sloane-rangery — and probably anachronistic — allure,  a textual receptacle full of adolescent yearnings and anxieties.

*Manic Pixie Drunk Girl

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