Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Bex's Bookshelves: Hetty Dorval, by Ethel Wilson
This is another Persephone book that I bought with a thoughtful gift voucher sent to me by Jen. I chose it because it's by a Canadian author. I loved it. Fresh and interesting, about how our pespective changes as we grow up and how we interact with those around us. Hetty, who does not like people to "complicate" her life, is fascinating. As is the narrator, Frankie's journey from starry-eyed teenager to a strong young woman. What I like so much about the book is Wilson's refusal to judge. Frankie recognises that there is something pure about Hetty and the way she chooses to live her life. I don't feel that the reader is meant to condemn Hetty for her choice not to conform.
I had many, many quotes noted down. I'll limit myself to one which sums up the book:
"She endeavoured to island herself in her own particular world of comfort and irresponsibility. ('I will not have my life complicated.') But 'No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe' said Mother's poet three hundred years ago, and Hetty could not island herself, because we impinge on each other, we touch, we glance, we press, we touch again, we cannot escape. 'No man is an Iland.' Who touched me?"
And so Uncle Ben knows that he has not islanded himself either, here is another little film. We all think about you Benj, all the time.