In an effort to STOP with the computer so much, I have returned to reading up a storm. Like three hours a day. Hello, retirement, I do love thee. I usually go into a deep dive once I start something, and my current obsession is with the Durrells. I just finished a biographer of Nancy Myers, Lawrence Durrell's first wife, and another woman who suffered at the hands of a narcissistic writer who was lauded and feted. I'm on more of a non-fiction kick these days, but I did read one novel that knocked my reading socks off. My readings for the past month, note, it's top-heavy on biographies.
Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin. Well, that biography ruined for me one of my favorite novels, A Christmas Carol. Yet ANOTHER genius male writer who stomped through life with his bros (how Hemingway of him) and abused his wife. After siring ten children, he decided to abandon his wife (his twenty-year younger mistress probably had a lot to do with it), demanded that their children cut off all contact with her (only one son defied his father's dictate), and tried to have her committed so that he wouldn't have to pay for her maintenance. So now I think of ALL THOSE CHRISTMASES that Mrs. Dickens spent alone without her family while he frolicked with his mistress.
Amateurs in Eden: The Story of a Bohemian Marriage: Nancy and Lawrence Durrell by Joanna Hodgkin. Yet ANOTHER genius male writer who stomped through life with his bros (how Hemingway of him) and abused his wife(ves). What is so bizarre about Lawrence Durrell is his fascination/devotion/obsession with Henry Miller of Tropic of Cancer fame. I mean, really?
Evelyn Waugh: A Biography by Selina Hastings. Oh, what a nasty man. Well-written biography of possibly the most bitter men on this planet. A convert to Catholicism, he basically lost his "faith," if you could call it that, because of Vatican II. It seemed to me that he only latched onto Catholicism because it was probably the one institution that he could count on NOT to change in his lifetime. Joke is on you, pal. I've only read Brideshead Revisited, which I loved and which seems basically autobiographical. I haven't read any of his other novels, and now I won't. Like Lawrence Durrell, he was a man of much brilliant nasty wit.
As they say, that's it, folks. Now on to reading Gerald Durrell's book, My Family and Other Animals.