Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Birds of the Air by Alice Thomas Ellis


Sebastian had devoted his life and his career to the proposition that words should be used with tremendous care, that no statement should be made that wasn't capable of precise utterance, and that anyone who couldn't say exactly what he meant should keep his trap shut. In the heady days earlier in the century when this novel idea first began to gather adherents, it was held by them that a massive, invincible engine was being constructed that would overturn all false, all mistaken structures of human thought - such as religious belief - and clear the ground for true human progress. But as time passed it began to seem that this tool resembled not so much a mighty bulldozer as that useful but scarcely earth-shaking, and indeed slightly anachronistic, implement - the thing for taking stones out of horses' hooves. Sebastian didn't care. His philosophy perfectly fitted his personality, and he had nearly finished his latest book - would have finished it, if it hadn't been for Christmas.
(from The Birds of the Air by Alice Thomas Ellis)
I shall have more to say about this novel, with, I hope, a degree of modest clarity. This writer does things with words.


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