On the day of publication, I suspect there’ll be erudite reviews galore of On Canaan’s Side cropping up all over the blogosphere.  So I’ll start with a digression.  I have discovered how to make the Scottish sun shine!  1) Get halfway through regrouting the bathroom and 2) wait for a rainy Saturday afternoon to finish it.

It wasn’t raining last Saturday.  The plums are ripening nicely …

and the strawberries have outgrown their allotted space and invaded the path.

If not grouting, I should obviously have been weeding,  but I decided my need to read Sebastian Barry’s latest was greater.

The first two paragraphs told me this would be a sad read:

Bill is gone.

What is the sound of an eighty-nine-year-old heart breaking?  It might not be much more than silence, and certainly a small slight sound.

A grandmother mourning her dead grandson, the only relative with whom she remains in touch.  I quite enjoy a sad read – they remind me that my life could be worse, and sometimes lift my mood.  Not so the story of Lilly Bere’s life in which Bill’s death is perhaps the final emotional trauma. By page 94 I was in flood of tears and very pleased to gaze once more on the maverick strawberries.  They made me smile.

I took a break and a few deep breaths.  When I resumed, the first page of book two contains this.

When I was still a young child my father gave me a necklace of my mother’s.  The first thing a child does with a grown-up necklace is burst the thread.  The little cultured pearls poured out on the floor, and made a dash for the gaps between the floorboards.  He was able to rescue only a half-dozen, and threaded them back forlornly on the necklace …

A long bit of string and six chastened-looking pearls.  Maybe my life is a bit like that.

And with that succinct summary of the disappointments of life, I am undone once more.  

To be continued when I am feeling less volatile.  🙂