(Photograph of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse from the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.)
Well, I’m never going to be ready for the assault on J.G. Ballard and his weirdness if I keep reading stuff like this.
The Country of the Pointed Firs is described in most places I’ve seen as a collection of short stories, but it could equally be a novel. Either way, nothing happens. A writer goes to stay in a seaside town in Maine and takes lodgings with Mrs Todd, a much-beloved herbalist, and meets many of the other residents of the town. I think I should admit to you that the problem here is not the book, which is prettily written, but me. When I was a younger, more rash person I thought that I hated all nineteenth century writing but the real problem was that I had tried to read the wrong Dickens, wasn’t ready for Austen and people kept trying to make me read Thomas Hardy. I mean really, who likes Thomas Hardy? (purrer of the spotted hue, never was pet mourned as you A HA HA HA HA).