Monday, 30 May 2011

Bex's Bookshelves: The Queen of the Tambourine, by Jane Gardam

Strange, sad, moving. Brilliant. Gardam shows how thin (blink and you miss it) is the line between sanity and madness, and between madness and imagination. And it's wickedly funny.

I love Gardam's writing. It's vivid and precise. Here are just a couple of my favourite quotes.

Round the edge of the world something looked at me. A very distant, scarce-remembered relation - happiness. Like frightened, struggling Anne, happiness had slipped my mind since I had been persuaded that the world is composed entirely of super-women now...

The boy was reading steadily, page after page of a comic, and as he read, his feet in red and grey woollen socks kicked and swung, kicked and swung. When children stop swinging their legs they're grown up.

She's pretty Feminist you know - she doesn't believe in doing things by herself.

And a couple of mini-quotes which I find particularly evocative.

... a complex still-life of empty glasses.

...he gave a skimmed-milk smile...

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