Plagued by the Nightingale

by Kay Boyle | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by lakelady2282 of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on 10/16/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by lakelady2282 from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Because I am writing a manuscript set in the 1920s I am trying to read as many novels written in the 20s that I can. Having said that I quickly realised there was nothing specific to that decade in Plagued by the Nightingale. I also quickly realised that this was a marvellous, very eclectic novel.
The author Kay Boyle provides an introduction written over fifty years later. Please read this introduction after you have finished the novel as it contains spoilers. Interestingly Boyle is quite hard on herself about her writing and I’m not in agreement with one or two of her pronouncements.
“This extraordinary novel, first published in 1931, recounts the love story of the American girl Bridget and the young Frenchman Nicolas whom she marries. Bridget goes to live with his wealthy, close-knit family in their Breton villages and finds there a group - mother, father, sisters and brother-in-law who love each other to the exclusion of the outside world.”
The descriptions of the Breton village and the awful predicament Bridget finds herself in are what I will remember of this novel, long afterwards. Just as I still remember a small hut in the snow, somewhere and a dying man, from another novel of Boyle’s. You can say of a novel (such as this one) that not much happens but if something of it stays with you then I believe it is a testament of the writer’s skills.
Here is one of the passages I’m sure will stay with me:
“The world, edged with a little lip of pure mud, floated round and round them. Afternoon warm and blue and humid shimmered about the fat heavy heads of the elm-trees over the wall, and the straw roof of the pig-house was flung down like an old hat under the chins of the elms. The terrace proceeded sedately from the wall, drawing up with a gesture of disdain the fresh new yews from the edge of the pond. And Charlotte’s house strode up upon the terrace, its erect line assailed by white wings and the roof scarlet as the crest of a cock.
The world floated round and round them, the low hills with the poplar row and the river, the soft afternoon coiled about the elm heads, and the terrace withdrawing the glossy yew from the touch of the pond.”

Journal Entry 2 by lakelady2282 at Drop In Espresso in Wallsend, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Released 4 yrs ago (10/16/2018 UTC) at Drop In Espresso in Wallsend, New South Wales Australia


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