Sunday 13 December 2020


FEEL LIKE I ALWAYS WANT TO START MY BLOGS with me grabbing your hand, shaking it, imploring, “read this, please, now.”  Everything I post here is a recommandation, quite purposely so. My nonna use to say “life is too short and there are too many good books to read to waste your time reading bad ones.” For her, and for you, I want my blog to only have the best of the best. La crème de la crème. Everthing I write about is the perfect gift for someone.

Merrow is a children's novel I read almost every year. Over on the French side, I wrote about how I like my magic “real”. Concerned with describing actual nature and wildlife. Merrow is just that. Set by the sea, on the isle of Manx, in the uncertain in-between period when Christianity was only beginning to be whispered across Europe and vikings had more power than priests. A girl with a mangled hand waits for her mermaid mother to come home from the sea.

“She’s not your mother. She’s not a woman; she’s not even human. From the moment she went over, we lost her just as surely as if she’d died. They do not live for our benefit. They belong to Themselves.”

I remembered the rolling otter and its sweet-looking paws – dashing that urchin with the rock and the blood staining the water. I remembered the jewel-red carb – dragging that scavenged flesh into the sea grass. I’d found them comical, and pretty, but they were their own creatures too, just as my aunt had said, and busy with the job of living. They probably didn’t even see me. I remembered the way the cave spiders and suchlike scurried to hide from me in the rocks.

They were not there for us. They had their own mysterious life living inside them. Their world was not my world, their story not mine. 

Cover: Peter Nicolai Arbo. Liden Gunvor og Havmanden. 1874-80. Drammen Museum, Norway.

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