Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Contemporary wisdom is quoting the man
Who quoted the man
Who put truth in eloquent words."
And you can quote me on that.
"What if the devil didn't know he was the devil, and that was part of his punishment?"
"I thought you didn't believe in that stuff?"
"I don't, but you've been annoying me lately."
Fragments, impressions, playful little thoughts and sentences, giving rise to conjecture, whether it's the author's or your own. I'm not quoting from each piece; I'm quoting each piece in its entirety.
"I've been rethinking," she said, sitting up in bed, arms wrapped around her legs. Her chin rested on her knees so that when she spoke, her head bobbed up and down. This was after they had moved in together, after their routines were neatly aligned, and after they no longer thought about it. "And I've changed my mind," she continued. "We do deserve everything good that comes our way, because the bad comes whether we deserve it or not."
These one-page scenes are accompanied by landscape watercolour images from around San Francisco, mostly in sepia but with occasional dashes of sudden, rich colour which take you by surprise and instantly delight. The images do little more than set a tone or a location for what might be a conversation overheard, except to make you gawp at their singular beauty. Occasionally they mark the passage of time as light sweeps over the rooftops, but mostly they just celebrate the extraordinary beauty of the buildings, streets and skies of the city, and make them... accessible. Some read like Ivor Cutler or Alan Bennett
"We discovered that Dad had stopped attending his Gamblers Anonymous meetings. His problem wasn't a secret, and when asked, he'd reply, casually, "Oh, they're going just fine." Then Mom found bags of quarters stashed in the garage. I followed him one night and caught him in a Laundromat on the other side of town. "The sound of the change falling makes me feel like I'm winning," he said. We were all relieved. Except for Mom, who thought he could have at least done some laundry while there."
whilst others are touchingly sad and/or stoical, depending on your point of view:
"Life is just a series of problems. Problems she can't imagine bothering anyone with."
Something to dip into and out of, and the book I'm going to be buying most often as a present this year.