Posted by: Corri van de Stege | June 21, 2009

Two weeks in June

Incest appears to be on writers’ minds, although I’m aware of course that it’s been on the mind of many great writers for centuries.  Jeffrey Eugenides in Middlesex writes about it; although the plot is about the hermaphrodite Callie, she or rather he, is a consequence of incest, or so he wants us to believe.  The most intriguing and fascinating part of the book is all about the love between brother and sister, orphaned, in a tiny village in the mountans of Greece.  As I said before, a great book – and yes, I did finish it completely.  Still, I think it’s two different stories and I enjoyed the greek tragedy most, the illicit love between Desdemona and Lefty (Eleutherios) Stephanides, Callie’s grandparents, who get married as they escape the Turkish massacre of the Greeks in Smyrna, on a ship heading for New York.  The incest story is most casually narrated, and seems almost natural in the scheme of things.

Other books I have recently picked up to read seem to dwell on the incest story and make it the centre of plots that unravel vile murders and secrecy.  There’s Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a racy and entertaining detective story which is about trying to find out why a girl became lost, thought to have been murdered.

Without giving away the plot of the story, Hakan Nesser’s The Mind’s Eye also unravels a plot that entails incest and illicit relationships.  It’s a racy detective story.  I don’t usually indulge much in detective stories, but this one is great entertainment whilst travelling endlessly on trains, in need of some light relief from heavy going meetings, dragging overnight cases and laptops across busy railway platforms and when trying to sleep in yet another hotel bed.  A very good read and I think I might get some more by Nesser – I’m hooked as they say.  It’s like reading a good television drama.

Leaving home at the beginning of this fortnight I left the garden and our great plans for a ‘proper patio’ instead of the rather unsightly greenhouse that stood desolate and packed with empty pots, tables that were never used, garden tools and messy forgotten growing bags, in the hands of a builder with our instructions to build us that long desired patio.  P1010066compressedSo it looked a bit like this half way in the week.

Our greenhouse now has found a new home with the neighbours, who will re-erect it somewhere behind their garage:

P1010067compressed

Our patio is beginning to look promising half way through the second week:

P1010078compressed

And today, after having oiled some of the garden furniture, a very satisfactory experience whereby old dry teak glows gratefully after its treatment, and after a visit to the local garden centre, we have this long desired patio.   Here I can read my papers and books on a sunny summer afternoon, or sip a glass of wine at the end of a long day.  All it needs now is some sunny weather – not much chance today although the most threatening skies seem to have disappeared and there are lighter looking cloud formations with patches of blue in between.

P1010085


Responses

  1. Love the new patio! It does look like a great place to unwind with a book.

    Middlesex and The Girl with the dragon tattoo are in the TBR pile, but I haven’t heard of The Mind’s Eye so will look out for it, even though I’m not keen on reading about incest.

  2. Lovely! I love looking at makeovers! And this is quite the luxury to have an outdoor “getaway” – enjoy!

  3. Looks divine. I love those before and after shots. You’ve made me regret giving away my copy of Middlesex before I’d finished it. Hope you get some good sun in June (what’s left of it). Freezing over here.

  4. A devoted reader: incest is the plot, the denouement of Hakan Nesser’s book. It provides the explanation of why things happened the way they did…
    Oh: yes, I’m greatly enjoying, perhaps just finding an excuse every night now to have that glass of wine 🙂
    Pete: Try and get it back, the Middlesex book I mean: it’s well worth persevering with the second half too (although as I said, it’s a different book altogether, that second part).

  5. Nice pics!

    I just finished Middlesex recently, and yeah, in context of everything else going on in the book, the incest didn’t seem so outrageous. And still, it was the kind of book that kept you engaged, or it was in my opinion anyhow.

  6. I enjoyed your take here on Middlesex. I hadn’t thought as much about the incest as the hermaphrodite story seems to have grabbed me, but Eugenides does walk the tightrope well of making the reader (at least this one) accept that Lefty and Desdemona did what seemed called for in the moment.
    I absolutely LOVE the patio, greenhouse, all of it. Your writing and reading spaces looks heavenly. New York City can only offer smog and noise. Sigh…


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