Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Honeysuckle and the Bee

One of the best books to come across is one you have had for many years, never read, discovering in an idle moment: in my case 4.30am just before dawn, lying awake trying not to think of White Bears, and failing.

By bedside light, I read 30 pages till dawn rose, chuckling and congratulating myself on the sheer pleasure of a chance find. Like the naughty person who flicks on or reads endings, I have a penchant for checking who authors are before finishing books. It ought to be possible not to do so: in several senses it spoils things by so doing. But by 5.30 I had logged on to discover facts about Sir John Squire {2} {3} which enhanced my enjoyment in reading him.

The Honeysuckle and the Bee
is the author walking from London to Devonshire, splicing into his narrative memories inspired by the places he past and people he met. It is very funny: a cornucopia of little gems. A thoroughly English book: by that I mean a Frenchman or a German could read it but he would enjoy it much less than a Englishman of a certain age: a man, probably not a woman, who might play the Flanders and Swann nostalgia-fest to lost railway stations, time and again, on occasion with with a moist eye or two.

John Collings Squire, (1884–1958), British poet (Solomon Eagle), one time editor of New statesman, poet, and author of On Destroying Books .


At Tuesday, December 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A similar experience happened to me. I chanced upon this book in the wee small hours. Expecting it to be a hum-drum old book.
I found it surprisingly uplifting and I was soon painting pictures in my minds eye.
Before I knew it, it was 6.30.


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