THE GREY LIGHT of a shivering Scottish June day is trying its best to make its way through our deep set windows and cheer the house as best it can. There's a faint flappity-whapping sound outside of coloured bunting strung up for a village gala, and I am indoors with a hot water bottle and the warm feeling of a just-finished-book.
This book is one that called to me from the bookshop shelf with its thorn-silhouette cover and a quote by Picasso that I had coincidentally just recently painted:
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly is a delicious delve into the world of fairytale, imagination and books. It is the story of David, a quiet boy who is trying to come to terms with the death of his mother, and the new family that takes her place. He retreats into a semi trance-like world of his own creation peopled by crooked men, knights and beasts, enchantresses, wolves and worse-than-wolves. Written like all good tales, there's a quest and all sorts of encounters along the way. I was particularly delighted by the more gruesome aspects of the story, where Connolly has drawn upon pre-sanitized versions of fairy tales for his inspiration. Particularly dreadful was a huntress who made child-animal hybrids so that they would be more challenging and swifter hunting quarry, and The Crooked Man who is an incarnation of Rumplestitskin and who makes terrible bargains with children before plucking out their hearts and eating them, and then storing their souls in a jar on a shelf in his lair in order for him to remain alive.
Included at the end of the book is an excellent collection of notes by the author on the various fairy tales that were woven into his, and on the meanings behind them.
and in every child waits the adult that will be"
Today, too, there is another lost thing: my painting Soup & Pipe is winging its way to a new owner far across the seas and I am a little sad to see it go. It was painted last year on a lovely slice of wood found in a jumble sale, and these two bent old friends might be Tui and I holding hands by a log fire one long-away day...