‘You have absolutely no clue what you are talking about!’ I slam down the phone and march out of the room. In the kitchen I put on the kettle. ‘That was not a very mature reaction.’ I hear the Nymph say behind me. ‘I don’t care.’ I take a cup out of the cupboard. ‘The way the man handles literature makes me so angry.’ Before pouring the boiling water, I take a few deep breaths to calm down.
The man in question: my husband. The issue: the ending of The Blue Room. He took the latest Peirene book on his business trip. He then called me up to tell me his thoughts. And: I totally disagree with his reading of the final sentence.
‘You know the thing about literature,’ the Nymph says in a tone as if talking to a small child, ‘it’s open to interpretation.’
I roll my eyes. ‘I know that, Peirene, don’t lecture me.’
‘Then don’t get angry. It’s nothing personal.’
I suddenly have to smile: ‘Oh, look who is talking!’
Now it’s the Nymph’s turn to throw me an irritated glance: ‘Our classification of books into a series – that’s different’.
Peirene has become a liability at our stalls. Whenever a customer decides to buy just one book rather than all three making up one of our annual series she is in danger of uttering sharp remarks under barely held breath along the lines of ‘You are missing the point of our books,’ or ‘Why don’t go away and learn about creative reading first.’
Needless to say, the Nymph’s heart is in the right place. She is adamant that reading all three books in the order of their appearance in the series adds another, deeper dimension to the reading experience.
Because: our curation of our annual output resembles a three part musical piece. Each section is self-contained. The A section (this year: The Dead Lake) provides the theme and key (Coming-of-Age). The B section (The Blue Room) is in a contrasting but closely related key and displays a different character. The C section (Under The Tripoli Sky) than returns to the A section and continues where A left off.
‘Let’s make a deal.’ I turn around to the Nymph. ‘I will call my husband, and continue our conversation in a calm fashion, while you from now on will be nice to anyone who comes to the stall.’
P.S: I will be away next week and back here 2nd of June.
Image: “Miss Philadelphia 1924” by velvettangerine