“Marigold was absorbed in her book; she had gotten as far as the V.”
Much like Mr Ramsay in To the Lighthouse Marigold has made far into her book. Unlike Mr Ramsay, Marigold can’t actually read. This is a small book, a short story really, by Louise Glück, who won the Nobel Prize a few years ago, but certainly not for her fiction. I like this little book, but that’s what it is, a little book. Louise Glück’s poems tend to intimate and intense affairs, and I am especially thinking of her collection Meadowlands, which includes several rewritings of Circe as a character. Marigold and Rose are twin girls. Rose is extroverted and playful and round, in the world as the book tells us. Marigold is in her head, and pointy, and introverted. There’s a kind Dionysian and Apollonian air to their differences.
In the story, Marigold is writing a book even though she’s never actually read any books on her own, and cannot write either. But she knows what she will be doing, as soon as the language comes to her.
The book itself reminds me most of Tove Jansson’s fiction, especially The Summer Book, but also Fair Play. The Summer Book is especially good at narrating a book that comes across like a children’s book, but one written for adults. The idiom and the language and the subject are all very much in the style of children’s books, but the story and the presentation of character cannot help but be clearly for adult readers.