Friday, May 14, 2010

Scenes of Winchester England

Two scenes from Winchester England. The photo on the top was taken at the Winchester Cathedral -- yes, that cathedral; the one made famous in the Rudy Vallee-like song by the New Vaudeville Band. The annual book sale raises funds to purchase music for the choir. The photo on bottom is a close (alley) just off the city center.

I read two books during my travels: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. I highly recommend both books.

Museum is Atkinson's first books and only cements her standing (with me) as one of the finest writer's in England today. It's a David Copperfield-like story of a young York girl. As Ruby recounts her life, Atkinson leaps back in time to tell the story of Ruby's mother and grandmother and their extended family.

Suite Francaise is the story of the Nazi invasion of Paris and the occupation of a French village. Nemirovsky is as unsparing of the Parisians and French villagers as she is the Nazis. Ironically, Nemirovsky, a Jew, died in the Holocaust. The uncompleted novel (actually two novellas) was discovered decades after her death by her daughter. We are the richer for this discovery.

Two very fine novels.

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