I was reading Lila by Marilynne Robinson and finding it dull and ananda deficient decided to turn towards James Joyce and beat my breast in the house of The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. There’s leela (playful miracle) for you. Joyce is the Master no question. Irish writers have made him their template standing behind him like the Cavan poultry farmer behind the Japanese chicken sexer not knowing how he does it but somehow learning it. How can you learn what your teacher doesn’t understand? Of course there’s a shadow cast by Joyce but it’s not a gloom. I think of Nigel H. when he was at school.
Nigel was a long time in the confessional and the lads were wondering. Then they heard the shout of the priest -
- What, what, get out you blackguard, get out you scut.
With that cry he jumped out of his central box of audition of the sins of Nigel who had been winding him up like an 8 day clock, blurting his way towards incest and having unordered parcels delivered to members of the higher and the lower clergy. Father MacT. wrenched open the door of the box where Nigel was sitting inside with a straois (canine grin) on him. He easily dodged the lob and fled out under the arm of the priest who chased him up the chapel with his soutane hitched up bunching the berry buttons of it. On the way out through the porch Nigel paused to dip the font and bless himself.
More on the ‘Portrait’ when I’ve re-read it.