“Somewhere, within her, in a deep recess,”

Dear Nella, I’m impressed by how autobiographical your novel Quicksand is. The protagonist, Helga Crane, much like yourself, is the daughter of a Scandinavian mother and a black father who abandons the family when Helga is only a child.  When the story opens, Helga is a 22 year old woman, dissatisfied with her life. She…

Nella Larsen

Nella Larsen, née Nellie Walker (April 13, 1891 – March 30, 1964), was an American novelist of the Harlem Renaissance. She was born in a poor district of Chicago, the daughter of Peter Walker, a mixed-race Afro-Caribbean immigrant from the Danish West Indies, and Marie Walker, née Hansen, a Danish immigrant who worked as seamstress…

Questions of displacement

Dear Elizabeth, This is just a quick note to let you know that I read a posthumous collection of your poems (The Complete Poems, 1927-1979) earlier this year. I had sparsely read some of your poems and prose, here and there, during college. At that time, I used to browse the University Library stacks, in…

Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) was an American poet and short-story writer. Orphaned during her very early childhood (her father died when she was eight months old; her mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in 1916), Bishop lived with her grandparents on a farm in Great Village, Nova Scotia.  Later in…

Reading events (January-July/2016)

Hello, lovely readers, Here are some of the reading events and projects I want to take part in (I’ll update this post as I go along and read the books…): * The 1938 Club The 1938 Club is hosted by Karen and Simon, and will take place from 11th – 17th April. The idea is to have…

But time flows in many streams,

  Dear Kawabata-san, I first read your novel Beauty and Sadness (transl. by  Howard Hibbett) in 2010, and I remember I was not very impressed nor particularly touched by it at the time. I had to reread the book this month, for a Book Club discussion, and I must say I can now best appreciate…

Yasunari Kawabata

Yasunari Kawabata (川端 康成, 11 June 1899 – 16 April 1972) was a Japanese writer. Born in Osaka, into a well-established family, Yasunari was orphaned when he was four. Having lost his grandparents when he was fifteen, Kawabata moved into a boarding house near his high school. In 1917, he moved to Tokyo, and on the following year…

The melancholy of change

Margie, dear, The Foolish Gentlewoman was the first of your books I’ve ever read. I knew nothing about you, but when Jane, over at Beyond Eden Rock, created the Margery Sharp Day to celebrate and promote your books – most of which remain sadly out of print -, I decided, out of curiosity (I’m always into discovering…

Margery Sharp

Margery Sharp (25 January 1905 – 14 March 1991) was an English writer. Born in the district of Salisbury in the county of Wiltshire, she spent part of her childhood in Malta and returned to England in 1914. She studied French at Bedford College, University of London; and then art at Westminster Art School. She published her first…

“It would be so awkward to come closer”

Ivy, dear, I don’t quite know yet what to think about your writing style. Two Worlds and Their Ways was the first of your books that I read. I came to it by sheer chance, in one of my regular visits to my favourite bookstore. I was – as usual – browsing the shelves with…