Paradise

gorseMy current read is Paradise, by A.L. Kennedy, a younger Scottish novelist. It’s a good read, though difficult in places due to the harsh realities of its alcoholic narrator. Here’s the blurb from “The Seattle Times:” “A stunning depiction of alcoholism, as funny as it is sad, as ironic as it is romantic.” In this passage the narrator is standing in the doorway of a barn, soaking up the feeling of a Scottish summer, and remembering her childhood.

“Beyond the lintel’s shade, there is the sweetness of grain fields on the breeze, the bland dust of poor soil, baked to a yellowish crust: and salt, too: something of the high-tide line, bladderwrack and rock clefts dank with scrub and gorse: that slightly human, musty fug of heated gorse, the snap of its seeds, the blood drop in the yellow of each flower: which is to say, the smell and taste and everything of my being a child in summer, of running between the blue, narrow shore and the racing depths of barley with my brother until the sun had fallen and the sandy earth was cooled to match the temperature of skin.”

A beautiful evocation of place, strangely punctuated, and a delight to read aloud. As a matter of fact, you could chop it up randomly and call it poetry.

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