Wednesday, 13 January 2021
Saturday, 9 January 2021
I have to admit that lockdown has not done me much good when it comes to reading. I have struggled to focus on books, just as I've found it difficult to commit to TV series or films. At the moment I feel weary and despairing, but I must finish this review of an excellent book. So, here goes.
The last two stories in this Katherine Tynan collection are typically imaginative. 'The Picture on the Wall' appears, at first, to be one of those haunted portrait tales, as a young man goes to the north of England to meet the rather grim family of his fiancée. But the portrait turns out to be something rather different - a two-faced work of art that reveals a terrible family history. In marked contrast is 'The Fields of My Childhood', prose-poem reminiscence. Tynan could offer healthy sentiment and grim plot twists with equal aplomb.
The collection also includes three non-fiction pieces, two of them about Tynan. One is 'Sweet Singer from Over the Sea', in which a reporter from the Sketch visits the writer. This dates from 1893 and underlines how well-known and popular she was during that Celtic Twilight era. The second piece, from 1903, is entitled 'Ghost Story of a Novelist' and features an intriguing twist on the idea of a double or spectre of the living.