Friday, June 16, 2017


Several weeks ago I noticed it, what have I seriously missed about summer? The splendiferous electrical storms far out beyond the Bay over the Gulf of Mexico. It all started back up for the season last evening with the most elegant lightning, streaks to the water miles away; high above, the entire sky lit by balls of light leaping from one cloud to another, which I’ve never noticed before. The bad news heat and humidity are not far away, but last night, summer arrived beautifully in the southern sky.

Last night also I finished my book, A Soldier of the Great War. Mark Helprin’s writing is powerful, detailed, dense, at times seems unnecessarily so, though I didn’t skip one word. There isn’t the excruciating detail I found years ago with Salman Rushdie in Midnight’s Children, but Helprin glosses over nothing. And unless he is already a professional or advanced amateur mountain climber, I cannot imagine what effort he undertook to learn and communicate the intricacies of such specialized and technical skill. Mark tells his story well, including he entices us with uncertainty through much of the book, though I confess to suspecting right from the start because of what was not said. If everyone whom Alessandro comes to love is killed and he alone makes it, at least there’s no suspense about himself Alessandro, who begins with us in 1964 at age 74. 

I loved the book, though wondering if it’d appeal mainly to male readers. So then, another novel for 2017, following A Man Called Ove after Christmas, A Place To Come To, A Gentleman in Moscow, a range of Russian fiction and films, Laurus during sabbatical, and All the Light We Cannot See a year ago, a fiction inclination resumed during my JanFeb sabbatical as a happy, ongoing vice occasional, enjoyment of +Time+.


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