4.5.20 (Lockdown)

Frost in May - Antonia White

1. Possibly my first 'Virago' book (1980) - I didn't really need an introduction to feminism (although FIM is more a reaction to determinism and conformism than anything), but it was a nice introduction to the more difficult literature from this splendid publisher.
2. Frost in May's events are resolutely small scale - it concerns a Catholic convent girl's quiet rebellion against the mind control of her authoritarian 'educators' and the (relative) dire consequences of her rebellion.
3.It's also a subtle anti-patriarchal novel, quietly and cleverly flagging up the role men play in the subjugation of women.
4.Absolutely beautiful first-person writing, where less-is-more and the reader is immersed into a dream-like, but very real world.
5. Having experienced eighteen years of Catholicism at first hand, I didn't need any reasons to dislike organised religion,  but this novel was a useful reminder.
6. Having said that, Fernanda (the narrator) describes her hermetic world so beautifully that it sometimes becomes difficult to remain inured to its dubious charms, and 'The Convent of the Five Wounds' still sounds ace!
7. I read Frost in May really quickly, but I would often take the book out when I was on the top deck of the notorious blood-bath bus the 14c just to see the reactions of the local Cro-Magnons ("He's got a book! A woman's book! He must be a queer! Let's Kill Him!")
8. The (sort of) sequel 'The Lost Traveller' is good, but it's the 'Give 'em Enough Rope' to 'Frost in May's' The Clash'.
9. One of those books that leave you with a disquieting sense of melancholy (if you're a sensitive soul) which can be pleasant but can usher in depression if indulged. (An amateur psychologist writes...)
10. A beautiful, wonderful novel which gave me a life-long love of women's fiction. 

Tomorrow: Sven Hassall's 'Death Hammer of the Afrika Korps'

I won't nominate anyone in case they're 'too busy' (sitting in the garden/drinking themselves to death/scratching their arses) - and if you don't like these sort of things, don't get pissy about them - just don't read them!


Solitary Cat 

So many years teaching literature, and now I'm spreading the word via Shared Reading groups.
I've always tried to get the message across that great literature explains and illustrates the human condition, and most importantly, that there are good souls out there who think, feel and love the way that 𝘆𝗼𝘂 do.
But I doubt if I've seen anything recently that SO encapsulates my time on earth as succinctly and accurately as this badly-drawn cat.