Book Reviews

The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin

Declan has AIDS. He’s very sick. He sent me to tell you.

It is Ireland in the early 1990s. Helen, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother, Dora have come together to tend to Helen’s brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. With Declan’s two friends, the six of them are forced to plumb the shoals of their own histories and to come to terms with each other.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Blackwater Lightship is a deeply resonant story about three generations of an estranged family reuniting to mourn an untimely death. In spare, luminous prose, Colm Tóibín explores the nature of love and the complex emotions inside a family at war with itself.

Book Reviews

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Today’s young, in righteous, understandable defence of their own time, generally reject our reminiscences about a golden age

“Past Imperfect,” by “Downton Abbey” writer Julian Fellowes, plays out an interesting premise — rich old bastard Damian Baxter hires his estranged friend to track down five women from their past before he dies (and his death is imminent), for the purpose of discerning whether he is the father of any of their children.

Romance Books

One Day – David Nicholls Book Review

oneday.jpg“You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.”

David Nicholls’s acclaimed novel, tracking the 20-year friendship of Dexter and Emma, has sold more than a million copies and the film version has been released a few years back. I’ve accidentally found my copy of the book in one of the charity shops nearby and I decided to give it a go the other day.
I loved it! It’s a bit mushy and very romantic but the twists and turns will keep you wondering what’s going to happen next. The story follows Emma and Dexter – two uni friends who had a one-night hook-up of sorts after the last day of school.

Emma and Dexter

Dexter kinda likes Emma, Emma kinda likes Dexter, but they don’t continue the night as a relationship and girlfriend and boyfriend and split ways. He goes to China, Italy, India while Emma decides to work in a Mexican restaurant to support her writer aspirations.

“He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph.”

Dexter is more middle – upper class and enjoys his life as a handsome, privileged, rich white man. His parents are well off and can support his lifestyle and odd career choices. The thing is, Dexter lacks direction and purpose even though he has the money to back him up. He thinks about becoming something that sounds good when spoken in a bar, like a professional photographer as he mildly impressed a teacher with a structure called “Texture”. Then he goes into the TV business and finds it easy at first as the money is good and he goes from minor help to minor celebrity as he hosts his own show – a gig with a Cockney accent whose interesting subject was voting Britain’s ugliest girlfriend. Basically trash TV.

They go on a holiday together just as friends and even though the chemistry is off the charts, they don’t do anything they would regret except some heavy flirting.

Emma is struggling in the meantime with holding down a measly job, going on crappy dates, seeing no end at the tunnel. When she gets offered the manager position in the restaurant she was working, she starts crying – not because that’s what she was hoping, but because she can’t see a way out. She continues messaging Dexter and their lives come together every now and then.

“Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.”

What I really didn’t like was how fame and fortune changed lovely old Dexter for the worse. Alcoholism, parties, new friends (50 new for each old one discarded) and a sense that he could tip money to people he knew (like Emma) instead of just being a friend for her when she needed it.

“Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will. I just don’t like you anymore. I’m sorry.”

Emma drifts away from Dexter, goes into a relationship with a former co-worker called Ian and even though they weren’t compatible, she tries to make it work. Ian adores her and is even thinking about proposing but Emma deep down knows he’s not the one for her and refuses and then breaks up with him.

She starts working at a school as a teacher, has a short fling with the married headmaster and then starts focusing on her real desire: how to write. She is rejected by several editors and mistakenly invited to apply as a nanny to one of them. She does not let rejection pull her down and she fights forward until she manages to get a teen book published and then land a serialisation deal.

“I’m not the consolation prize, Dex. I’m not something you resort to. I happen to think I’m worth more than that.”

She meets Dexter every now and then – when their common friends get married – and she finds out that he is also looking to marry a beauty – Sophie – who is classy and does not smile a lot as it makes her face look ugly. I think Sophie exhibited the emotional range of a cracker but hey, if some people like that, why not?

Dexter and Sophie have a beautiful baby girl together and all of a sudden, Dexter, the playboy, drives a family van and changes diapers.

“I had always been led to believe that ageing was a slow and gradual process, the creep of a glacier. Now I realise that it happens in a rush, like snow falling off a roof.”

This change in lifestyle is hard to adapt to so he resorts to an old crutch of his: drinking a bit of alcohol and loitering around the house. Sophie starts despising him (for his crappy career, for his lack of motivation, for his lack of direction  but never for his parenting) and soon starts an affair with one of her husband’s bosses and former friend. They get divorced soon after, sharing custody.

Dexter is a broken man when he meets up with Emma again in Paris. His tail is tucked neatly between his legs when he asks her whether she would consider being together with him now, that he’s single. Emma shows some spine, tells him about her literary success, about her flat in Paris, about her new beau and invites him to join them at a local restaurant. Dexter breaks down and this is when everything comes up to the surface. Years of love, of yearning, of missing out on stuff they could have done together. Emma meets him half way, breaks it off with the current boyfriend (of a mere month) and she and Dexter are finally together!

Woop woop you would say until two years after Emma dies (it happens in the movie too so it’s not a massive spoiler). Gets hit by a truck on the way to see a house with her new husband. I cried a bit, I admit, as David Nicholl is very good at portraying strong emotions like despair and solitude.

The book ends on a bitter-sweet note as Dexter remembers the first day he spent with Emma when they went to the top of Seat Arthur, an old volcano plateau in Edinburgh, and shows his now teen daughter the places were they lived and loved.

I enjoyed the format. It gives the reader snapshots of Dex and Em’s life, like flipping through a stack of polaroids, just a flash of what was going on at a particular time. Picking the same day established a sequence and highlighted that life and circumstances can change so quickly at times, or not change at all as was in Em’s case when two days start exactly the same. I think this was an intelligent way to approach a story that spans 20 years. We don’t really need a full depiction of every single event in their lives to have a sense of what they are going through.

Book was pretty well written, with loads of twists, accurately depicting the consequences of life choices and the unpredictable nature of fate. The characters are well defined and the dialogue is funny and witty and it captures some of the Britishness perfectly.

“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle”

The stuff I liked best was the meditation upon a life with purpose or without and what hard work and money can take a person to.

“What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

“You feel a little bit lost right now about what to do with your life, a bit rudderless and oarless and aimless but that’s okay… That’s alright because we’re all meant to be like that at twenty-four.”

“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

Book Reviews

Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis Book Review

I haven’t read any other books by Bret Ellis after his American Psycho (1991) and I thought I’d give Lunar Park a go. Written in 2006 it follows the life of the author post his literary success into a life of debauchery and then domestic bliss.

“I had dreamed of something so different from what reality was now offering up, but that dream had been a blind man’s vision. That dream was a miracle. The morning was fading. And I remembered yet again that I was a tourist here.”

At first, I thought it was an auto-biography (no, I did not read any reviews before I got started) and I was surprised to see elements of the supernatural sneak in from the middle of the book. There’s a haunted doll, a lot of uneasiness in the house where he lives with his wife and two children and weird emails that keep coming through at 2:40 AM from the bank of his father.
There’s a lot of the plot revolving around the father-son relationship, the first one between Bret and his dad and then between Bret and his son Robert.

Book Reviews

Misty – V. C. Andrews (Wildflowers 01)

There is always another bull’s-eye for Mom, who is punishing my father with my needs, whipping him with the costs of keeping me in designer jeans, straight teeth, and anything else she can buy. She pounces on a new expense and rushes to get the charges added up and sent to him ASAP, as she says. Once she sent a bill special delivery to his office even though he had days to pay it.

This is another shitty book by V.C. Andrews (or an even less talented ghost writer), this time not even nearing the 117 pages of book 3 I reviewed earlier this week. This one stops short of 107 pages and is the same soapy drama of a child neglected in the midst of a nasty divorce battle between two bitter parents.

Book Reviews

Jade – V. C. Andrews (Wildflowers 03)

“People who are always sticking their noses into other people’s business are too helpful,” she countered. “I don’t agree. I’m not sticking my nose into anyone’s business. I’m giving her the benefit of my experience and my knowledge.”

I’ve done something bad. I’ve picked up another book from V.C. Andrews, but it’s not the start or the end of a trilogy, it’s the middle. The mistake I made was thinking I could probably hop onto a moving train and still see where it’s been, who’s on it already and tell where it’s going. I was wrong. The book was a mess to a newcomer.


The Mourning Bride (Act 3, Scene 2)

First presented in 1697, The Mourning Bride is William Congreve’s only tragic drama, which includes two of his most quoted phrases, “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,” (Act I, Scene 1), and “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.” (Act III, Scene 2). Same. –

Enter ZARA, PEREZ and SELIM. –

ZARA. Somewhat of weight to me, requires his Freedom.
Dare you dispute the King’s Command? Behold
The Royal Signet.

PEREZ. I obey; yet beg
Your Majesty one Moment to defer
Your entring ’till the Princess is return’d
From visiting the Noble Prisoner. [Exit PEREZ.]

What saist thou?

OSM. We are lost! undone! discover’d!
Retire, my Life, with speed- Alas, we’re seen!
Speak of Compassion, let her hear you speak
Of interceding for me to conceal our Loves,
If possible.-

ALM. -I cannot speak.

OSM. Let me
Conduct you forth, as not perceiving her,
But ’till she’s gone; then bless me thus again.

ZARA. Trembling and weeping as he leads her forth!
Confusion in his Face, and Grief in hers!
‘Tis plain, I’ve been abus’d- Death and Destruction!
How shall I search into this Mystery?
The bluest Blast of Pestilential Air
Strike, damp, deaden her Charms, and kill his Eyes;
Perdition catch ’em both, and Ruine part ’em.

OSM. This Charity to one unknown, and in
Distress, Heav’n will repay; all Thanks are poor. [Exit ALMERIA.]

ZARA. Damn’d, damn’d Dissembler! Yet I will be calm,
Choak in my Rage, and know the utmost depth
Of this Deceiver- You seem much surpriz’d.

OSM. At your return so soon and unexpected!

ZARA. And so unwish’d, unwanted too it seems.
Confusion! yet I will contain my self.
You’re grown a Favourite since last we parted;

OSM. -Madam!

ZARA. I did not know the Princess Favourite;
Your Pardon, Sir- mistake me not; you think
I’m angry; you’re deceiv’d. I came to set
You free: But shall return much better pleas’d,
To find you have an Interest superiour.

OSM. You do not come to mock my Miseries?

ZARA. I do.

OSM. I could at this time spare your Mirth.

ZARA. I know thou cou’dst, but I’m not often pleas’d,
And will indulge it now. What Miseries?
Who would not be thus happily confin’d,
To be the Care of weeping Majesty?
To have contending Queens, at dead of Night
Forsake their down, to wake with wat’ry Eyes,
And watch like Tapers o’er your Hours of Rest.
O Curse! I cannot hold.-

OSM. Come, ’tis much.

ZARA. Villian!

OSM. How, Madam!

ZARA. Thou shalt die.

OSM. I thank you.

ZARA. Thou ly’st; for now I know for whom thou’dst live.

OSM. Then you may know for whom I’d die.

ZARA. Hell! Hell!
Yet I’ll be calm- Dark and unknown Betrayer!
But now the Dawn begins, and the slow Hand
Of Fate is stretch’d to draw the Veil, and leave
Thee bare, the naked Mark of Publick View.

OSM. You may be still deceiv’d; ’tis in my Pow’r.

Who waits there? –

Enter PEREZ. –

As you’ll answer it, take heed
This Slave commit no Violence upon
Himself. I’ve been deceiv’d. The Publick Safety
Requires he should be more confin’d; and none,
No not the Princes self, permitted to
Confer with him. I’ll quit you to the King.
Vile and ingrate! too late thou shalt repent
The base Injustice thou hast done my Love:
Yes, thou shalt know, spite of thy past Distress,
And all those Ills which thou so long hast mourn’d;
Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d,
Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.



The Mourning Bride (Act 3, Scene 1)

First presented in 1697, The Mourning Bride is William Congreve’s only tragic drama, which includes two of his most quoted phrases, “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,” (Act I, Scene 1), and “Heav’n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.” (Act III, Scene 2).

A Prison. –

Enter OSMYN alone, with a Paper. –OSM. BUT now, and I was clos’d within the Tomb
That holds my Father’s Ashes; and but now,
Where he was Pris’ner I am too imprison’d.
Sure ’tis the Hand of Heav’n that leads me thus,
And for some Purpose points out these Remembrances.
In a dark Corner of my Cell I found
This Paper, what it is this Light will show. –
Reading. If my Alphonso- Ha!
If my Alphonso live, restore him, Heav’n;
Give me more Weight, crush my declining Years
With Bolts, with Chains, Imprisonment and Want;
But bless my Son, visit not him for me. –
It is his Hand; this was his Pray’r- yet more: –
Reading. Let ev’ry Hair, which Sorrow by the Roots
Tears from my hoary and devoted Head,
Be doubled in thy Mercies to my Son:
Not for my self, but him, hear me, all-gracious- –
‘Tis wanting what should follow- Heav’n, Heav’n shou’d follow,
But ’tis torn off- Why shou’d that Word alone
Be torn from his Petition? ‘Twas to Heav’n,
But Heav’n was deaf, Heav’n heard him not; but thus,
Thus as the Name of Heav’n from this is torn,
So did it tear the Ears of Mercy from
His Voice, shutting the Gates of Pray’r against him.
If Piety be thus debarr’d Access
On high, and of good Men, the very best
Is singled out to bleed, and bear the Scourge,
What is Reward? or, what is Punishment?
But who shall dare to tax Eternal Justice!
Yet I may think- I may? I must; for Thought
Precedes the Will to think, and Errour lives
Ere Reason can be born: Reason, the Power
To guess at Right and Wrong; the twinkling Lamp
Of wand’ring Life, that winks and wakes by turns,
Fooling the Follower, betwixt Shade and Shining.
What Noise! Who’s there? My Friend! How cam’st thou hither? –

Enter HELI. –

HEL. The Time’s too precious to be spent in telling;
The Captain influenc’d by Almeria’s Power,
Gave order to the Guards for my Admittance.

OSM. How does Almeria? But I know; she is
As I am. Tell me, may I hope to see her?

HEL. You may; anon, at Midnight, when the King
Is gone to Rest, and Garcia is retir’d,
(Who takes the Privilege to visit late,
Presuming on a Bridegroom’s Right) she’ll come.

OSM. She’ll come; ’tis what I wish, yet what I fear.
She’ll come, but whither, and to whom? O Heav’n!
To a vile Prison, and a captiv’d Wretch;
To one, whom had she never known, she had
Been happy: why, why was the Heav’nly Creature
Abandon’d o’er to love what Heav’n forsakes?
Why does she follow with unwearied Steps,
One, who has tir’d Misfortune with pursuing?
One, driv’n about the World like blasted Leaves
And Chaff, the Sport of adverse Winds; till late
At length, imprison’d in some Cleft of Rock,
Or Earth, it rests, and rots to silent Dust.

HEL. Have Hopes, and hear the Voice of better Fate.
I’ve learn’d there are Disorders ripe for Mutiny
Among the Troops, who thought to share the Plunder,
Which Manuel to his own Use and Avarice
Converts. This News has reach’d Valentia’s Frontiers;
Where many of your Subjects long oppress’d
With Tyranny and grievous Impositions,
Are risen in Arms, and call for Chiefs to head
And lead ’em, to regain their Liberty
And Native Rights.

OSM. By Heav’n thou’st rous’d me from my Lethargy.
The Spirit which was deaf to my own Wrongs,
Deaf to Revenge, and the loud Crys of my
Dead Father’s Blood; nay, which refus’d to hear
The piercing Sighs and Murmurs of my Love
Yet unenjoy’d; what not Almeria could
Revive, or raise, my Peoples Voice has wak’ned.
O my Antonio, I am all on Fire,
My Soul is up in Arms, ready to charge
And bear amidst the Foe, with conqu’ring Troops.
I hear ’em call to lead ’em on to Liberty,
To Victory; their Shouts and Clamours rend
My Ears, and reach the Heav’ns; where is the King?
Where is Alphonso? ha! where? where indeed?
O I could tear and burst the Strings of Life,
To break these Chains. Off, off, ye Stains of Royalty.
Off Slavery. O curse! that I alone
Can beat and flutter in my Cage, when I
Would soar, and stoop at Victory beneath.

HEL. Our Posture of Affairs, and scanty Time,
My Lord, require you should compose your self,
And think on what we may reduce to practice.
Zara, the Cause of your Restraint, may be
The Means of Liberty restor’d. That gain’d,
Occasion will not fail to point out Ways
For your Escape. Mean time, I’ve thought already
With Speed and Safety, to convey my self
Where not far off some Male-Contents hold Counsel
Nightly; hating this Tyrant; some, who love
Anselmo’s Memory, and will, no doubt,
When they shall know you live, assist your Cause.

OSM. My Friend and Counsellour, as thou think’st fit,
So do. I will with Patience wait my Fortune.

HEL. When Zara comes, abate of your Aversion.

OSM. I hate her not, nor can dissemble Love:
But as I may, I’ll do. I have a Paper
Which I would shew thee, Friend, but that the Sight
Would hold thee here, and clog thy Expedition.
Within I found it, by my Father’s Hand
‘Twas writ; a Pray’r for me, wherein appears
Paternal Love prevailing o’er his Sorrows;
Such Sanctity, such Tenderness, so mix’d
With Grief, as wou’d draw Tears from Inhumanity.

HEL. The Care of Providence sure left it there,
To arm your Mind with Hope. Such Piety
Was never heard in vain: Heav’n has in Store
For you, those Blessings it with-held from him.
In that Assurance live; which Time, I hope,
And our next Meeting will confirm.

OSM. Farewell,
My Friend, the Good thou dost deserve attend thee. [Ex. HELI.]
I’ve been to blame, and question’d with Impiety
The Care of Heav’n. Not so my Father bore
More Anxious Grief. This shou’d have better taught me;
This Lesson, in some Hour of Inspiration,
By him set down; when his pure Thoughts were born,
Like Fumes of Sacred Incense, o’er the Clouds,
And wafted thence, on Angels Wings, thro’ Ways
Of Light to the bright Source of all. There, in
The Book of Prescience, he beheld this Day;
And waking to the World and mortal Sense,
Left this Example of his Resignation,
This his last Legacy to me, which I
Will treasure here; more worth than Diadems,
Or all extended Rule of Regal Pow’r. –

Enter ZARA veil’d. –

What Brightness breaks upon me, thus thro’ Shades,
And promises a Day to this dark Dwelling!
Is it my Love?-

ZARA. O that thy Heart, had taught [Lifting her Veil.]
Thy Tongue that Saying.

OSM. Zara! I’m betray’d
By my surprize.

ZARA. What, does my Face displease thee?
That having seen it, thou do’st turn thy Eyes
Away, as from Deformity and Horrour.
If so, this Sable Curtain shall again
Be drawn, and I will stand before thee seeing,
And unseen. Is it my Love? as again
That Question, speak again in that soft Voice,
And look again with Wishes in thy Eyes.
O no, thou can’st not, for thou seest me now,
As she, whose Savage Breast has been the Cause
Of these thy Wrongs; as she, whose barbarous Rage
Has loaden thee with Chains and galling Irons:
Well, dost thou scorn me, and upbraid my Falseness;
Cou’d one that lov’d thus torture what she lov’d?
No, no, it must be Hatred, dire Revenge
And Detestation, that cou’d use thee thus.
So thou dost think; then do but tell me so;
Tell me, and thou shalt see how I’ll revenge
Thee on this false one, how I’ll stab and tear
This Heart of Flint, ’till it shall bleed; and thou
Shalt weep for mine, forgetting thy own Miseries.

OSM. You wrong me, beauteous Zara, to believe
I bear my Fortunes with so low a Mind,
As still to meditate Revenge on all
Whom Chance,, or Fate working by secret Causes,
Has made perforce subservient to that End
The Heav’nly Pow’rs allot me; no, not you,
But Destiny and inauspicious Stars
Have cast me down to this low Being: Or,
Granting you had, from you I have deserv’d it.

ZARA. Can’st thou forgive me then? Wilt thou believe
So kindly of my Fault, to call it Madness?
O, give that Madness yet a milder Name,
And call it Passion; then, be still more kind,
And call that Passion Love.

OSM. Give it a Name,
Or Being as you please, such I will think it.

ZARA. O thou dost wound me more with this thy Goodness,
Than e’er thou cou’dst with bitterest Reproaches;
Thy Anger cou’d not pierce thus, to my Heart.

OSM. Yet I could wish-

ZARA. Hast me to know it, what?

OSM. That at this Time, I had not been this Thing.

ZARA. What Thing?

OSM. This Slave.

ZARA. O Heav’n! my Fears interpret
This thy Silence; somewhat of high Concern,
Long fashioning within thy labouring Mind,
And now just ripe for birth, my Rage has ruin’d.
Have I done this? Tell me, am I so curs’d?

OSM. Time may have still one fated Hour to come,
Which wing’d wit Liberty, might overtake
Occasion past.

ZARA. Swift as Occasion, I
My self will flie; and earlier than the Morn
Wake thee to Freedom. Now ’tis late; and yet
Some News, few Minutes past arriv’d, which seem’d
To shake the Temper of the King- who knows
What racking Cares disease a Monarch’s Bed?
Or Love, that late at Night still lights his Lamp,
And strikes his Rays thro dusk; and folded Lids,
Forbidding rest; may stretch his Eyes awake,
And force their Balls abroad, at this dead Hour.
I’ll try.

OSM. I have not merited this Grace;
Nor, should my secret Purpose take Effect,
Can I repay, as you require, such Benefits.

ZARA. Thou canst not owe me more, nor have I more
To give, than I’ve already lost. But as
The present Form of our Engagements rests,
Thou hast the Wrong, ’till I redeem thee hence;
That done, I leave thy Justice to return
My Love. Adieu. [Exit ZARA.]

OSM. This Woman has a Soul
Of God-like Mould, intrepid and commanding,
And challenges, in spight of me, my best
Esteem; to this she’s fair, few more can boast
Of Personal Charms, or with less Vanity
Might hope to captivate the Hearts of Kings.
But she has Passions which out-strip the Wind,
And tear her Virtues up, as Tempests root
The Sea. I fear when she shall know the Truth,
Some swift and dire event, of her blind Rage
Will make all fatal. But behold, she comes
For whom I fear, to shield me from my Fears. –

[Enter ALMERIA. –]

The Cause and Comfort of my boding Heart,
My Life, my Health, my Liberty, my All,
How shall I welcome thee to this sad Place?
How speak to thee the Words of Joy and Transport?
How run into thy Arms, with-held by Fetters;
Or take thee into mine, thus manacled
And pinion’d like a Thief or Murderer?
Shall I not hurt or bruise thy tender Body,
And stain thy Bosom with the Rust of these
Rude Irons? Must I meet thee thus, Almeria?

ALM. Thus, thus; we parted, thus to meet again.
Thou told’st me thou would’st think how we might meet
To part no more- Now we will part no more,
For these thy Chains, or Death, shall join us ever.

OSM. Hard Means to ratifie that Word!- O Cruelty!
That ever I should think beholding thee
A Torture!- Yet, such is the bleeding Anguish
Of my Heart, to see thy Sufferings- O Heav’n!
That I cou’d almost turn my Eyes away,
Or wish thee from my Sight.

ALM. O say not so;
Tho’ ’tis because thou lov’st me. Do not say,
On any Terms, that thou dost wish me from thee.
No, no, ’tis better thus, that we together
Feed on each other’s Heart, devour our Woes
With mutual Appetite; and mingling in
One Cup, the common Stream of both our Eyes,
Drink bitter Draughts, with never-slacking Thirst.
Thus better, than for any Cause to part.
What dost thou think? Look not so tenderly
Upon me- speak, and take me in thy Arms-
Thou canst not! thy poor Arms are bound and strive
In vain with the remorseless Chains, which gnaw
And eat into thy Flesh, festring thy Limbs
With rancling Rust.

OSM. Oh! O-

ALM. Give me that Sigh.
Why do’st thou heave, and stifle in thy Griefs?
Thy Heart will burst, thy Eyes look red and start;
Give thy Soul way, and tell me thy dark Thought.

OSM. For this World’s Rule, I wou’d not wound thy Breast
With such a Dagger, as then stuck my Heart.

ALM. Why? why? to know it, cannot wound me more,
Than knowing thou hast felt it. Tell it me.
-Thou giv’st me Pain, with too much Tenderness!

OSM. And thy excessive Love distracts my Sense!
O could’st thou be less killing, soft or kind,
Grief wou’d not double thus his Darts against me.

ALM. Thou dost me Wrong, and Grief too robs my Heart,
If there, he shoot not ev’ry other Shaft;
Thy second self shou’d feel each other Wound,
And Woe shou’d be in equal Portions dealt.
I am thy Wife-

OSM. O thou hast search’d too deep:
There, there I bleed; there pull the cruel Cords,
That strain my cracking Nerves, Engines and Wheels;
That Piece-meal grind, are Beds of Down and Balm
To that Soul-racking Thought.

ALM. Then I am curs’d
Indeed, if that be so; if I’m thy Torment
Kill me, kill me then, dash me with thy Chains,
Tread on me, spurn me: Am I the bosom Snake,
That sucks thy warm Life-Blood, and gnaws thy Heart?
O that thy Words had force to break those Bonds,
As they have strength to tear this Heart in sunder;
So should’st thou be at large from all Oppression.
Am I, am I of all thy Woes the worst?

OSM. My All of Bliss, my everlasting Life,
Soul of my Soul, and End of all my Wishes,
Why dost thou thus unman me with thy Words,
And melt me down to mingle with thy Weepings?
What dost thou ask? why dost thou talk thus piercingly?
Thy Sorrows have disturb’d thy Peace of Mind,
And thou dost speak of Miseries impossible.

ALM. Didst thou not say, that Racks and Wheels were Balm,
And Beds of Ease, to thinking me thy Wife?

OSM. No, no; nor should the subtlest Pains that Hell,
Or hell-born Malice can invent, extort
A Wish or Thought from me, to have thee other.
But thou wilt know what harrows up my Heart:
Thou art my Wife- nay, thou art yet my Bride!
The Sacred Union of Connubial Love
Yet unaccomplish’d; his mysterious Rites
Delay’d; nor has our Hymenial Torch
Yet lighted up, his last most grateful Sacrifice;
But dash’d with Rain from Eyes, and swail’d with Sighs,
Burns dim, and glimmers with expiring Light.
Is this dark Cell, a Temple for that God?
Or this vile Earth, an Altar for such Off’rings?
This Den for Slaves, this Dungeon damp’d with Woes;
Is this our Marriage-Bed! are these our Joys!
Is this to call thee mine? O hold my Heart:
To call thee mine? yes; thus, ev’n thus, to call
Thee mine, were Comfort, Joy, extremest Exstacy.
But O thou art not mine, not ev’n in misery;
And ’tis deny’d to me, to be so bless’d,
As to be wretched with thee.

ALM. No; not that
The extremest Malice of our Fate can hinder:
That still is left us, and on that we’ll feed,
As on the Leavings of Calamity.
There, we will feast, and smile on past Distress,
And hug, in scorn of it, our mutual Ruine.

OSM. O thou dost talk, my Love, as one resolv’d,
Because not knowing Danger. But look forward;
Think on to Morrow, when thou shalt be torn
From these weak, struggling, unextended Arms;
Think how my Heart will heave, and Eyes will strain,
To grasp and reach what is deny’d my Hands:
Think how the Blood will start, and Tears will gush
To follow thee my separating Soul.
Think how I am, when thou shalt wed with Garcia!
Then, will I smear these Walls with Blood, dash my
Disfigur’d Face, and rive my clotted Hair,
Break on the Ground my throbbing Breast,
And grovel with gash’d Hands to scratch a Grave,
Stripping my Nails, to tear this Pavement up,
And bury me alive; where I will bite the Ground
‘Till gorg’d with suffocating Earth.

ALM. O dismal Cruel! heart-breaking Horrour!

OSM. Then Garcia shall lie panting on thy Bosom,
Luxurious, revelling amidst thy Charms;
And thou perforce must yield, and aid his Transport.
Hell! Hell! have I not Cause to rage and rave?
What are all Racks, and Wheels, and Whips to this?
Are they not soothing Softness, sinking Ease,
And wasting Air to this? O my Almeria,
What do the Damn’d endure, but to despair,
But knowing Heav’n, to know it lost for ever?

ALM. O, I am struck; thy Words are Bolts of Ice,
Which shot into my Breast, now melt and chill me.
I chatter, shake, and faint with thrilling Fears.
No, hold me not- O, let us not support,
But sink each other, lower yet, down, down,
Where levell’d low, no more we’ll lift our Eyes,
But prone, and dumb, rot the firm Face of Earth
With Rivers of incessant scalding Rain.

Book Reviews

Let the old dreams die * John Ajvide Lindqvist

How do you recognize a great love?

When I saw this book on the Library sale I squeaked with excitement as I haven’t read anything from John Ajvide Lindqvist in more than 6 months and I am proud to declare myself a fan (on top of the known 17 who showed up at his signing show) and promptly bought the book not knowing what to expect from such a raw writer.

As a reminder, here are the other books from John Ajvide Lindqvist I’ve read:

Based on the notes at the back of the book (yes, I’ve read those too), this book comes before Harbour and it was intended to present another ending for Let the Right One In in light of the movies that came out.



Deep blue sea * Theatre

Sometimes I like taking advantage of the perks of having a Cineworld Unlimited card – it means I can go and see a theatre play, in the cinema, with only £8 (or abouts). I saw “The deep blue sea” a few weeks ago and it’s only now I managed to put aside some time and talk about it.


A flat in Ladbroke Grove, West London. 1952.

When Hester Collyer is found by her neighbours in the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt, the story of her tempestuous affair with a former RAF pilot and the breakdown of her marriage to a High Court judge begins to emerge.

With it comes a portrait of need, loneliness and long-repressed passion. Behind the fragile veneer of post-war civility burns a brutal sense of loss and longing.