a storm of books

You go through periods where you think you’ve read all the decent books and the ones you pick up randomly make you feel nauseous at the bad writing. Then you have a time of reading a raft of great books.

So here’s another.

The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merrill Block.

But on the rare occasions that Marvin does emerge, he immediately draws the focused scrutiny of all those ethereal, delusional men and women, who turn into impromptu paparazzi, glimpsing what they can, gossiping about whatever strange persona Marvin has donned that day. Marvin’s myriad selves may range from a French poet to a naval admiral, but like the disparate voices of say, a Shakespeare play, all seem to Frederick to share the aesthetic mark of a singular creator’s sensibilities, each a hyperbolic identity, each engaged in hysterical congress with the Absurd.

(p32).

It’s a book about words, manic depression and mental institutions in the 1960s. (I worked at one in the 1970s – seems not much had changed). It’s about families and secrets and wondering about how people lived their lives.

It’s absorbing and the writing is eloquent and elegant.

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