Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rebecca Stuhr is reading about Librarians in The Bird Artist

I'm reading Howard Norman's The Bird Artist. I can't remember what review I was reading or who wrote the review. In this forgotten review I read about The Bird Artist and it was recommended as one of the favorite novels of the reviewer. So I made a note to myself to read it. Well, I just got started and it opens with the main character remembering the local town (in Nova Scotia) librarian and library, Mrs. Bath. The library cards had "the silhouette of a woman reading in a bathtub." Mrs. Bath claimed to have read all the books in the library, "which was her own living room, dining room, and sitting room." She was a stickler for the rules, "You either remembered your card or had to fetch it." She was also the young bird artist's greatest supporter (along with his mother). "She often provided me with money out of her own till for pens, pencils, inks, special paper." "Just draw. It's a God-given gift."

Anyway, I haven't gotten very far, but enjoyed reading about Mrs. Bath and her role in the development of the young artist's career. I think he goes on to commit a murder--but Mrs. Bath had died by then. I don't think she has any responsibility for that. Compare this to Penelope Lively's discription of libraries and librarians in her latest book (mentioned further down in the blog), Consequences; not pleasing at all.

Norman, Howard. The Bird Artist. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994.
PR 9199. B57 1994

Lively, Penelope. Consequences. Viking, 2007
Smith Memorial PR6062.I89 C58 2007b

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