Saturday, 5 March 2011

Lines to draw you in (for World Book Night)

(Illustration by Johfra Bosschart from  
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, published by Lectorium Rosicrucianum)

In that part of the world the sky is everywhere, and the entire landscape seems to lie in abasement under its exacting light. It gets into the church towers and between the narrow reeds along the river's edge. It glances across undulant acres of barley and beet, and takes what little the flints have to give. Everything there feels exposed, so keeping secrets is hard. It's not the easiest place in which to hide.

Also, if you don't have a car, it's quite difficult to get about. In fact the journey to Munding was simpler a century ago. These days the train takes you only as far as Norwich, then it's a leisurely bus-ride through some of the roomier parts of the county to the market-place at Saxburgh, and there's still a four-mile walk along the lanes to Munding. Just outside the village you cross the old branch-line: its rails have been scrapped, its sleepers disturbed, and the small halt closed. So much for Victorian progress!

I was in no hurry. Looking down from the bridge at the silent gravel-bed I reflected that the journey across England had been quite long enough to make specific a sense of banishment. By the time I reached the village my defection was complete.

It was a late Spring afternoon in the early '80s. I was 27 then.

(The opening lines from The Chymical Wedding by Lindsay Clarke)


  1. I tried to read this some years ago, but it just wasn't the right time. Is it worth going back to? The Bears send their love.

  2. I read this book ages ago and remember loving it, but I can't remember enough about it ... one to re-read I think.