February 28th, 2012

About A Month

My father-in-law went back into hospital last night, about a month since he was last discharged. We'd been meant to be taking the in-laws shopping yesterday afternoon, but when we got to the house we found him throwing up. Sometimes I'm glad I did time as a nursing auxiliary. We hear they have him on a drip. We'll find out more when we go visiting this afternoon. 

Fludd: Hilary Mantel

A mysterious stranger arrives in a sleepy, ossified or corrupt community and proceeds to shake things up. It's been done so many times before- in fictions as various as Mary Poppins and Pasolini's Teorema (not to mention any number of westerns)- that it's almost a genre.  In this particular case the ossified society is a skewed version of the Catholic working class community Mantel grew up in and the mysterious stranger is the new curate- or, at least, that's what everyone thinks he is. 

Fludd is charming, witty and beautifully written (of course)- but for a novel published in 1989 its philosophy of subversion- do your own thing, stick it to The Man, drop out and make love- seems quaintly old-fashioned.