Good morning! Consider this: if E.L. James married James Patterson, she’d be E.L. James Patterson! Think of the juggernaut that would ensue!
Now consider Anna Barbauld, via a recent New Yorker article about women’s reading habits through history:
“It is pleasant to the mind to sport in the boundless regions of possibility; to find relief from the sameness of every-day occurrences by expatiating amidst brighter skies and fairer fields.”
Love that “expatiating” more than I can say: for its hope and its reality both.
Now consider David Belcher writing in the New York Times about the new film adaptation of Wuthering Heights:
“[E]ven the most moor-obsessed among us would be hard-pressed to recall the second half of the book . . . With such a convoluted plot, not to mention hundreds of pages of period British colloquialisms, screenwriters face enormous challenges in dialogue and characterizations.”
Really? “Moor-obsessed”? “Convoluted”? Though a passionate fan of the book, I won’t bother to defend Mlle Bronte, she doesn’t need any help from me. But: that convoluted plot and those colloquialisms, that unremembered second half, make up the glory of the story, what makes it real, a pitch-perfect example of Anna Barbauld’s “expatiation.”
Or (our last consideration) “fiction’s intimate palpability”, the wonderful phrase from James Wood’s excoriation of Tom Wolfe in the New Yorker: one of the great passports for the reading expat. Not, note, ex-Patterson. Which circles us back to the bone again. Chew on!