Oh my goodness. I read, actually tried to read, one of his books a while back and I just couldn't get into it. I'm trying to remember which one it was. Somebody comes to a village and there are lots of odd characters, involved in odd relationships. Including a girl who can imitate birdsong ... .
It occurred to me that I needed someone to explain to me how to read him. "Thomas Hardy with magical realism" would really have helped.
Might go back and give him another try.
Do you know anything about him? The whole family sound as though they were a huge charismatic cult in the early twentieth century - but I can find very little on them.
(See - I did try to do some research to help me read the book.)
Yes give him another go cherry! It does reward the effort IMO. Perhaps start with Weymouth Sands - I think it's the most accessible. Start off with the same state of mind you use with Dickens - ie it's going to be a marathon, but really enjoy the individual images as they come. And keep an open mind - he does like freaks and weirdoes
Very interesting! And it explains much of the oddity of his characters. I agree about the description of the flooding of the Levels - incredibly evocative. I live there and reading it have me a huge sense of the precariousness of life here - almost below sea-level And in places you find you find yourself loomed over by dikes full of water.
OK, I guess this thread is pretty dead now, but will just add that I can highly recommend the Morine Krissdottir biography - it's fascinating. The whole family was deeply strange but JCP especially so, it seems. The account of his relationship with the 'Tiny Thin' (Phyllis, his much younger American 'companion') is gripping, but I spent a lot of the time with my eyes popping out of my head at their weirdness . Get hold of it if you possibly can!
Another addition to a deid threid - but I had a brief craze for JCP and got sometone to buy me his Collected Letters on Amazon. One day I will dive into them, and this discussion has maybe brought that day a little closer, so thanks!