An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pickleherring speaks

A fine and busy day today: Farmboy was weeding and servicing the brushcutter ( he intends to keep the oxalis down this winter); G was picking eating olives and prepping them for bottling - she was also cooking soup for us all (fakes); Eddie was shifting compost and organising all of us putting our backs in (and mine out) redeploying the delivery of gravel that he organised. Shem was writing a book review for the flue where he has been appointed 'fluebrarian (it's reproduced below); Shaun was busy with me on design work for the recycled bits of Daisy and updating our joint FaceBook presence as well as rippling the new website design thru the many pages required. Good job it was sunny and warm.

Robert Nye was brought to my attention by B S Johnson who included a list of writers who were, in his opinion, advancing the art of writing in his monograph Aren't You Rather Young To Be Writing Your Memoirs (well worth a read if you can find a copy). Since reading the BS Johnson I have always carried a copy of the list in my wallet and have now ticked off all the writers.
Nye's early work was promising and slightly experimental but for a few years he dropped off of my radar until I saw a copy of The Late Mr Shakespeare on the grubby shelves of a second hand shop in Xania.   It seems he has found a way forward all of his own and that he has written quite a bit since last I read him.
The Late Mr Shakespeare, let me make perfectly clear, is a wonderful read. It is the concept that is experimental/groundbreaking and not the prose nor the style. Nye relates a litany of stories about Shakespeare, his life and times from the viewpoint of an actor from his Globe troop.  Our narrator, PickleHerring is writing, after Shakespeare's death to fend off his own. Pickleherring is a gossip and an unreliable source - he treats fact and rumour with an even hand and while doing so he reveals more about himself than he does about his subject.
He is humorous, low and knowledgeable. He writes flowingly and elegantly.  He covers major facts of Shakespeares life with gusto and in doing so gives you a better grip on Shakespeare and his work and genius than is to be had from dry and dusty biographies. Is it Pickleherring or Nye we are listening to?
I care not a jot. This is worth anybody's time and requires no effort at all. Read it and enjoy it. Personally I shall be looking for a copy of Mrs Shakepseare! 

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