Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"The Beginning of Spring"

Yesterday was the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere but the season is not the reason for this post.

Rather I use the vernal equinox as an excuse to promote Penelope Fitzgerald's The Beginning of Spring. (And this pretense is hardly the greatest stretch I've taken in sharing my enthusiasm for her work: see here and here.)

On The Beginning of Spring, from the publisher:
Frank Reid is a struggling printer in Moscow. On the eve of the Revolution, his wife returns to her native England, leaving him to raise their three young children alone. How does a reasonable man like Frank cope? Should he listen to the Tolstoyan advice of his bookkeeper? And should he, in his wife's absence, resist his desire for his lovely Russian housemaid? How can anyone know how to live the right life?
That description hardly does the novel justice. Better to click here and read excerpts from the novel's many glowing reviews. Better yet, if you haven't read it yet, I encourage you to get yourself a copy.

"I have remained true to my deepest convictions, I mean to the courage of those who are born to be defeated, the weaknesses of the strong, and the tragedy of misunderstandings and missed opportunities, which I have done my best to treat as comedy, for otherwise how can we manage to bear it?"--Penelope Fitzgerald, 1998
--Marshal Zeringue