A truly beautiful book arrived from Faber this week and all I need to see is that address in Queen Square to remember the hundreds of times I walked through Cosmo Place into Queen Square, togged up in starched dress, silly hat, cape and fetching flat black shoes to go on duty at Gt Ormond Street, usually at crack of dawn or dead of night.
Mostly I was sleep-walking so I'm not sure I took much notice of the fact there was a publisher there and it was only recently I took the trouble to find out which Queen was being remembered.(Charlotte)
So The Loudest Sound and Nothing by Clare Wigfall arrived and immediately I love it, because just look at that cover, it's the Emma Bridgewater pottery of the book jacket world.
I read Em of Snowbooks blog post over at The Guardian this week on book jackets and how right she is
"For a subjective market like novels, everything will come down to the reader's personal taste; you can't state "you will like this book" and expect to be universally right."
But I adore Emma Bridgewater pottery even if I can't afford it, and the handle came off the one mug I did have on Day Two and now it's a pencil holder.I don't know why I love the idea of a plain white butter dish with "butter" written on it but I just do.
Em at Snow again,
"The best you can usually do with matters of taste is draw a comparison to something people already know about and leave it up to them to decide how they feel about it."
So although I think Em probably meant this in relation to other book jackets I've now realised that if you make a book jacket look like Emma Bridgewater pottery I'll love it.
Clare Wigfall's short stories The Loudest Sound and Nothing, so already I've bonded with the book and I still haven't opened it.
Hmm, not a huge success in my reading life, perhaps I have a long attention span and I feel a bit cross when things grind to a halt after sixteen pages or so just as I'm getting into my reading stride.
But something funny happened with these because you get to the end of each one and you feel as if you've read a novel.
Not a word wasted, nothing to excess, complete and condensed into sixteen pages but you emerge with the same sense of fulfillment and reading pleasure as if you'd read a whole novel. I'm about half-way through and will report back on the stories themselves soon, but so far I get the feeling these are very special.
I don't get that indescribable feeling very often, but when I do it's all wrapped up with that sense that a writer is speaking to me and me only and I'm completely tuned into the immediacy of the words on the page.
So special that in fact that I'm going to do something very rash and put the name of Clare Wigfall in the same sentence as Penelope Fitzgerald and I don't do that lightly or very often.
If that doesn't convince you then all I can do is revert to fall back position; if you love Emma Bridgewater pottery then I'm sure you'll love this book and look, when you take the dust jacket off you've got the night time version.