Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Pen Friend


Some years ago enjoyed reading Ciaran Carson’s, “Last Night’s Fun”.  I can not now find this book on my shelves.  I have probably culled it to a book fair.  Recently I stumbled upon the same author’s, “The Pen Friend”.  “Last Night’s Fun”, I can remember enjoying but remember little of the book, “The Pen Friend”, I believe, will endure in my memory for a long time and will be re-read sooner rather than later.  An exceptionally clever, thought provoking story - if story it is - that at many times during my reading had me insecure about my position in the strange relationship between reader, book and author.  Reading Fowles’, “The Magus”, I remember, had a similar effect on me; Sebald too, particularly in his “Rings of Saturn”, often had me wondering quite when and how I had been carried from one scene into another.
“The Pen Friend” is a literary tapestry with which haunting images have been created from very unlikely and diverse threads; collections of scent bottles, stamps and vintage pens skillfully interwoven with Esperantists, Spiritualists, Security Organisations, Terrorists; with Belfast, London, Paris, York and New York and many other incidental elements to fashion a picture of a seemingly beautiful love affair which the reality of life ultimately corrupts.  Or does it?  Is awful reality ultimately transcended?
For me, my first reading of “The Pen Friend” has been as much an experience as a read, Carson’s ideas, lurking now in the deeper, darker recesses of my mind, have already begun to haunt me.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

" Is awful reality ultimately transcended?"...

Now there is a question to ponder, John.