Monday, May 07, 2007

Injury Time

Sometimes the very fact that someone presses a book on you sets up a resistance that makes you disinclined to read it. Contrary, I know, but there it is. This happened to me recently with INJURY TIME. a memoir by poet and all-round man of letters, D. J. Enright. I hadn't read anything by him as far as I could remember, and it sounded a bit old fogeyish and grim. It is his last book, written in old age while he was being treated for terminal cancer. I put it in the bathroom, intending rather grudgingly to pick it and read the odd page or two now and them. And of course it it turned out to be wonderful - I had to surrender and remove it from the bathroom for proper reading. It is really a commonplace book rather than a memoir. Two things I found especially funny. In a list of exam howlers: 'Voltaire invented electricity' (as Enright points out, 'a brilliant inference, worth half marks'). And this: 'A paper in the north of England ran an advertisement on its "Lonely Hearts" page which read: "Professional man, 45, head on a stick, seeks similar woman". When readers asked what freakish practice or rare condition was encoded in "head on a stick", it emerged that the secretary in the office had taken the message over the telephone and what the man had intended was "hedonistic".

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sue Hepworth said...

I like your idea of reader's block, Christine. When I get it, I return to an old favourite, such as The Diary of a Provincial Lady, or Homestead, or Patchwork Planet, and if none of these open things up, I go to my favourite poetry antholology - Staying Alive.

Wednesday, 16 May, 2007  

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