And I Shall Sleep…

Llewellyn, Richard. And I Shall Sleep…Down Where the Moon Was Small. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1966.

Reason read: to finish the series incorrectly started in December in honor of Patagonia.

Like Llewellyn’s first two novels, And I Shall Sleep… starts off with Huw and his mother’s little blue cloth, the one she “wore about her hair when cleaning” (p 1). This will become significant later, as you might have guessed.
And I Shall Sleep is the third and final book in the Huw Morgan series. When we join back up with Huw, he and his small group of Patagonians have made a new settlement in the Andes mountains. Previously Huw’s love, Lal, had decided to stay behind but early in And I Shall Sleep she changes her mind and joins Huw in the mountains. While this may seem like a good thing for Huw (since he was so infatuated with her in Up, Into the Singing Mountain), his attraction to an evasive Indio girl complicates the relationship. It doesn’t help that Huw is becoming more and more sympathetic to the Indio plight (“they were denied a land where their fathers had ridden” p 122), Interestingly enough, this new girl, Liliutro, is half sister to Lal. [Semi-spoiler alert: the inside flap reveals that mysterious Lili is able to lure Huw away from Lal so the whole time Huw and Lal are seemingly happy together I wondered when his betrayal would begin…and then when it did I regretted waiting for it.]
On the professional side, Huw’s trading company is getting bigger and bigger. He is able to travel to America and meet Henry Ford. As a businessman he grows more and more successful.

As an aside: towards the end of And I Shall Sleep I was starting to dislike Huw a great deal. There is this one curious scene where Huw has just slept with a married woman and she announces she is going to tell her husband. The next day the husband comes to Huw to inform him I know what you did and oh, by the way, you should call the police because I put my hands around her neck….”Heard it go. Told you. I’m finished” (p 308).
And then there’s the scene with the puma…and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Quote I like: right from the beginning, the very first sentence grabbed me, “Dearly touched a heart can be with proof of love from an absent one” (p 1). This set the whole stage for me.
Other quote I liked, “A pity it takes so long to reach good sense” (p 99).

Book trivia: And I Shall Sleep… is sometimes called simply Down Where the Moon Was Small.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply and predictably called “Patagonia” (p 174). Note: both titles are indexed in Book Lust To Go.

Up, Into the Singing Mountain

Llewellyn, Richard. Up, into the Singing Mountain. New York: Doubleday & Company, 1960.

Reason read: to continue the series incorrectly started in December (in honor of December being the best time to visit Patagonia).

Up, into the Singing Mountain takes up where How Green Was My Valley left off. Huw Morgan leaves his tiny village in Wales for a Welsh community in the Patagonian region of Argentina. Singing starts with the same imagery as Valley in that Huw is bundling a little blue cloth. I’m not sure why that sticks out in my mind, but it does. Part of the reason why Huw leaves his community in the valley is his inappropriate love for his brother’s widow. As a child living in her house (to keep her company), no one thought of any impropriety. However, as Huw grows older and his feelings for Bron become more apparent, it was now time to leave.
Huw finds work as a cabinetmaker and builds a reputation on his artistry and skill. Unfortunately, the rumor mill also finds Huw in his new Patagonian community. This time he is tied unfavorably to a widow he has rented a room from, all theĀ  while being in love with a girl several towns over. His inability to defend himself only creates more problems and new tensions. But that is nothing compared to the threats to the community at large posed by a weakened dam and torrential rains. Add rebellious Indios and you have an adventure.

Like the last book I am finding tons and tons to quote: “Strange that a word or a look at the proper moment will change the whole cage we live in, and the places of all those perched” (p 11-12), “It takes a long, long time to lose the poison of towns” (p 20), and “To have a breath of air from the mouths of much” (p 24). I’ll stop there.

As an aside, one of my favorite teas is yerba mate. It was cool to learn where it comes from.

Author fact: after reading the Wiki page on Richard Llewellyn I was shocked to learn some of the things he claimed all his life weren’t exactly true (like where he was born).

Book trivia: not a spoiler alert, but there are some pretty violent scenes in Up, Into the Mountain. I was actually quite shocked by the violence of Lal’s father.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply, “Patagonia” (p 174).

In Patagonia

Chatwin, Bruce. In Patagonia. New York: Penguin Books, 1977.

Chatwin’s In Patagonia has been called a masterpiece. It’s short, but a masterpiece nonetheless. This is not your typical travel book. Chatwin doesn’t linger over landscape and sights to see. Instead, he focuses on the historical and follows in the footsteps of legendary characters like Butch Cassidy. He journeys through Patagonia with a thirst for all that Patagonia is rumored to be, past and present. Don’t expect to have a clear picture of Patagonia in your head when you are finished. You won’t know the best restaurant or the biggest tourist attraction, but you will have captured the nostalgic and the profound instead. My only regret is there are only a quiet collection of photographs that don’t quite add up to the narrative.

Quotes I liked, “She still had the tatters of an extraordinary beauty” (p 61) and “Never kick the woman you love” (p 299). Great advice, if you ask me!

Reason read: According to a couple of travel sites, December is the best time to visit Patagonia. Hence, the December read.

Book trivia: Introduction was written by Nicholas Shakespeare who also wrote a biography of Chatwin.

Author Fact: Bruce Chatwin died at 48 years old of AIDS.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply called “Patagonia” (p 173). Also, in More Book Lust in the chapter called “True Adventures” (p 223).

January ’13 was…

When I look back on January 2013 I have a sense of relief. All things considered this month was better than the last. In the grand scheme of things January treated me kind. No major meltdowns. No minor catastrophes to speak of. I started training for Just ‘Cause in the quiet way. Four to five miles a day and I didn’t stress about the numbers. If I didn’t make five or even four I didn’t have a hissy fit or beat myself or moi up. I cut me & myself some slack; gave us a break. I know that as the months wear on this won’t always be the case, but for now it was nice to go easy on me, myself & moi. The running was a different matter. Just as relaxed a schedule but not so easy going on. The run is a little over six weeks away and I’ve done next to nil in order to train. New Guinea has been awesome in that I’m working on speed intervals on level five. Let me repeat that. Level five. Nothing to write home about. I used to operate at level nine. Enough said. On with the books! I am pretty proud of the list.

  • Lives of the Painters, Architects and Sculptors by Giorgio Vasari ~ in honor of National Art Month way back in October. This finally completes the series!
  • Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak ~ in honor of Female Domination Day in Greece.
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray ~ in honor of January being the first month I read something from the first chapter of a Lust book. I admit I didn’t finish this one.
  • Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham ~ in honor of Maugham’s birth month. I also didn’t finish this one.
  • Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron ~ Happy new year. Read something to make me happy.
  • Idle Days in Patagonia by W. H. Hudson ~ in honor of January being the best time to visit Patagonia.
  • The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ~ in honor of Lewis birth and death month.
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson ~ in honor of the month all Creatures Great and Small aired.
  • Tatiana by Dorothy Jones ~ in honor of January being the month Alaska became a state.

On audio I listened to:

  • Final Solution by Michael Chabon ~ in honor of January being Adopt a Rescued Bird month.
  • No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith ~ in honor of Female Mystery Month
  • City of Thieves by David Benioff ~ last minute add-on. This was addicting!

For the Early Review program with LibraryThing:

  • Gold Coast Madam by Rose Laws (started in Dec)
  • Her by Christa Parravani

For Fun:

  • Leave Your Sleep the poetry book for children by Natalie Merchant

Idle Days in Patagonia

Hudson, W. H. Idle Days in Patagonia. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd. 1954.

In the very beginning Idle Days in Patagonia holds your attention. Hudson first grabs you with his narrow escape from drowning when the boat he was a passenger on went aground. Then after a trek through the dunes without food or water he arrives at an Englishman’s camp where he proceeds to shoot himself in the knee with a revolver. Then, if that wasn’t enough, while his companion goes to seek help he inadvertently cuddles up with a poisonous snake that has found its way into his sleeping bag. What’s even more astounding is that he is glad the Englishman isn’t there because he would have killed the “poor” creature! Because Hudson is an ornithologist he tends to go on and on about birds. Great if you are into that sort or thing. Not so much if you aren’t. Towards the end of Idle Days in Patagonia Hudson belabors certain subjects (I found his chapter on eyes to be rather dull) to the point of reader disinterest. All in all Idle Days in Patagonia was like a giant freight train that started off with a great deal of energy, but once the fuel source was depleted, rolled to a slow and painful stop.

Favorite passages, “To my mind there is nothing in life so delightful as that feeling of relief, of escape, and absolute freedom which one experiences in a vast solitude, where man has perhaps never been, and has, at any rate, left no trace of his existence” (p 7).

Reason read: December – January is the best time to visit Patagonia (I guess).

Author fact: If you have ever read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway you know Hudson was mentioned.

BookLust twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply “Patagonia” (p 173).