Hannah tries to fill the void in Max's heart, but with limited success, and she will suffer for the lack of love -- hideously, scarily, in a nightmarish sequence titled "Dark Party. Still, it's Marie's loss of Franz that occupies the emotional core of the story. Wicks, though herself young and fresh, manages to plumb several lifetimes' worth of sorrow in her two laments, "Eiffel Tower" about the Parisian idyll that Marie and Franz will never get to enjoy and " Let It Slide through Your Hands," a moving ballad that touches on the acceptance that death ineluctably forces upon us.
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I believe she writes in this genre and also publishes several books of that ilk If I had been a judge, I would probably have favoured something with a more violent edge, or something with a few more laughs. I'm not sure I would read a book with the intention of re-reading it several times. There have been very few books that have tempted me back to do this; Tom Sharpe, Peter Pook, Larry Niven and Dave Langford are among the few that can tempt me to re-read of which The Moat in Gods Eye by Niven is perhaps the most read book in my collection I have myself judged short story competitions, of which there has been very little humour and no SF, finding something that I "like" is sometimes difficult, which in itself, speaks volumes on the nature of something like the Booker prize.
Jim and Ruth Bauer's Weimar-era musical is lush and transporting.
Paul Ekert: 'I have myself judged short story competitions, of which there has been very little humour and no SF, finding something that I "like" is sometimes difficult, which in itself, speaks volumes on the nature of something like the Booker prize. Statutory disclaimer: No value judgments intended - one way or the other.
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Post a Comment. Grumpy Old Bookman. Back in May, Susan Hill wrote a piece on her blog about being a judge of the Orange prize, ten years ago. She was far from happy with the experience, and came to the conclusion that the wrong book won. Susan's choice was The Blue Flower , by Penelope Fitzgerald, which she described as a novel of genius. The other judges, however, 'thought it was a thin little historical novel by a middle class middlebrow writer.
The Blue Flower: A Novel
First, a little background. Penelope Fitzgerald came from a distinguished family: her uncle was Ronald Knox, mentioned here only a few days ago. She was educated at Somerville College, Oxford Margaret Thatcher's old college, as you doubtless recall. Unusually, Penelope Fitzgerald published nothing until she was sixty, and even then it wasn't a novel; her first novel came two years later.
And another two years after that she won the Booker with Offshore. The Blue Flower was her final novel; it appeared in The first signs in relation to The Blue Flower are promising.
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The book is not thick: about pages. And, unusually, there is a Contents list, which reveals that we have 55 chapters.
The Blue Flower
Simple arithmetic demonstrates that the average chapter cannot be long, and this is an aspect of narrative technique which I warmly recommend to anyone foolish enough to be planning a novel of their own. An Author's Note at the beginning tells us that the novel is based on the life of Friedrich von Hardenberg , a man who is referred to in the book mainly as Fritz, but who later became famous under the name pen-name Novalis. Famous for what?
Well, he was a poet and philosopher. He was particularly interested, it seems, in the connection between poetry and science. In The Blue Flower, the focus of interest is not so much on Fritz's encyclopaedic knowledge, or on his poetry, but on his relationship with Sophie von Kuhn.