Hesperus how do I love thee? Well I've counted the ways on here in recent weeks and the books continue to have that extra bit of publisher's magic.
There is an essence of something special to the paper quality, the binding and those simple but emphatic cover designs with the French flaps.
So much work done already to make me love it.
But we must be discerning, there's got to be a turkey in there somewhere.
Well it's not Missing by Walter de la Mare that's for sure.
Cover first, empty pebbly beach on the front cover and then over on the back two empty deckchairs.
Susan Hill recently used the line
"Look thy last on all things lovely, Every hour ..."
which I, in my ignorance had assumed was something Shakesperian that she and the SP exchanged as they looked over their cherry orchard as the blossom dropped.
Silly me, it's from Walter de la Mare's poem Fare Well and there you have it. I only really know of Walter de la Mare as a poet not as a story writer.
Another very amenable aspect of all things Hesperus is the forewords and for this book they have enlisted Russell Hoban who quotes the poem as a form of explanation for all these short stories.In this compact volume just three, Missing, The Almond Tree and Crewe.
All about disappearance, something tangible suddenly no longer there and there are strange happenings to be reported in all of them. Unexplained events that have you sitting pondering long after you've read because the meaning is buried deep in the writing and somehow you know it's there but tantalizingly just out of reach.
Russell Hoban describes it thus
"These narrations are not easily described:I think of a lighthouse sweeping the sea with an occulting beam of obscurity and intervals of clarity...of a train passing between me and what I'm looking at so that I see the rhythmically interrupted view through its windows."
Perfectly spot on Russell and yes, that constant feeling that you are missing something.I trot across to the blessed Oxford DNB and there I discover this about Walter de la Mare's short stories of which he wrote a hundred or so.
"They can be obscure, built up as they are by fine-spun suggestion and the same embroidered, often archaic expressions he used in poetry, indifferent to modern fashion. Danger, enigma, and transience closely dog their most homely or commonplace settings. The accepted is everywhere disturbed by warnings that this universe exists unsafely to bring news of something far more important."
Yes indeed,another unique little reading experience from Hesperus and one worth catching.