'and then...

  • the different branches of Arithmetic - -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.' (A Mock Turtle regards his schooldays.) A weblog on books, media and writing by Genevieve Tucker.

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June 18, 2006


That is wonderful about the Colm Toibin, which I thought was absolutely, erm, masterly. Now I'm scrabbling around trying to find the review of it that I wrote when it came out.

The stuff about the libraries of the famous is really interesting. Judy Brett did a great book on Robert Menzies some years back that included, in its close analysis of his most famous public speeches and the ideas and values therein, some discussion of the annotations he'd made to his copy of Macbeth.

There's a lovely post on a NJ blogger's site, Fernham, about reading annotations in books - I will hunt that out for you, Kerryn. I'd love to know where you reviewed The Master too, do tell when the scrabbling is done.

I think it worked better for me than almost any highly ambitious faction I've ever read.

Toibin has a natural affinity with the subject matter and the style, I think, which gave him the opportunity of a lifetime - and he was brave enough to take it, which is quite another matter indeed.

I was nearly not brave enough to read it - he's one of my favourites and I feared he might have aimed too high - but I'm very happy I did. Just about due for a re-read...

Nice to see a smile on his face for once, too :)

I heard him read at a Melbourne Writers' Festival back in the mists of time -- it was the one where I got into trouble for yelling at John Cain, who was Premier at the time, so, what, early 90s? -- he (Toibin not John Cain) was under the wing of the ebullient Roddy Doyle, and was being INCREDIBLY shy and surly. But when he did his reading, from 'The Heather Blazing' I think, it was so brilliant and so intense that everyone in the room was holding their breath by the end -- you know that roomful-of-intense-silence feel. It was, like, gripping.

Ouch, that will teach me not to miss him at writers' festivals then. I couldn't quite come at the dedication of the Joyce brick at the State Library, last time around. If I were Irish and someone asked me to dedicate a chair built around a brick...hmmm.

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