June 7th, 2019

hasui clouds of glory

"Al and Yetta watched an operetta

Leonard Bernstein told them what they saw."

Having finally finished the Connolly, I go to Goodreads, as ever, to find out what it's about. A lot of men really really like it, as does Donna Tartt. Many people complain about the chunks of untranslated French, which I'd put down to a bit of personal snobbishness. He translates all the Latin passages from Vergil and Horace, which any public school boy would already know; but evidently thinks that the real intelligentsia don't need to have Pascal rendered comprehensible for them.

Many people call it a war diary. The war may background the emotions but as far as I can recall he never refers to it directly, nor hints that all his magical beloved places in France are now lost to him, and may never be seen again; or that many of the London locales he mentions are currently flattened by the Blitz. Possibly he assumes that anyone reading this in 1945 will be aware of these facts, but theoretically he's writing a masterpiece for the ages- who'd have to consult the endpapers to find out it dates to wartime.

Mostly however I'm with the woman who says 'a third of the way into the book I kept thinking I would like to find Connolly's wife, buy her a stiff drink, then sit back and let the tape recorder roll.'