At the consistently wonderful Tingle Alley, Carrie is aflutter about the paperback release of Shirley Hazzard’s National Book Award winner The Great Fire. You usually have to wait a year for the paperback, but Picador jumped the gun by a few months. It is nice not to have to wait until fall for it, and I daresay they’ll sell a few more copies by making it available for summer reading. I know I’ve handed over my fourteen bucks, and the book is in the queue.
Carrie talks about what it was like to read the novel when she took it out of the library last fall:
I borrowed The Great Fire from the library — and from the first page thought it was incredible. When I got to a particularly beautiful sentence I would stop and, because it was a library copy and couldn’t get marked up, write it down in my journal. At some point, I realized I was transcribing the entire novel by longhand. It was ridiculous.
I find myself reading almost every sentence a second time successively. It’s the first book I’ve ever read and reread simultaneously.
What’s more, the revelation at the end of TOV (no relation) changes and deepens the meaning of everything that has preceded it, and will send you straight back to the beginning for yet another rereading. Will this book ever let go of me?
If you aren’t reading Tingle Alley every day, you’re missing out.