“In these surrounding little streets, lit up like aquariums and tonight anonymous, saunterers passed me in vague shoals”. – from A Time In Rome
“The cautious steps of women when something has happened came downstairs, sending vibrations up the spine of the house.” – from The House in Paris
“It came to be rumoured that everybody in London was in love”. – from The Love-charm of Bombs
Elizabeth Bowen has made an unexpected appearance in my life this week. I started reading novels and travelogues about Italy a few weeks ago, as I think that is where I am probably going on my summer trip. While looking through a book of essays on Rome I noticed one by Bowen, saw that it was from a book she had written on the city and decided to buy it. A Time in Rome arrived on Monday.
I then read a post on EmilyBooks about how she almost forgot to get off her train in Inverness because she was so engrossed in The House in Paris, remembered I had a copy and decided to start reading it (and I am engrossed, too).
Then, while reading more about Bowen and her life on several websites, I saw the book The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War by Lara Feigel mentioned several times. I checked my library’s catalog for it and was pleased to find it on the shelf at my branch. Bowen is one of the authors profiled in the book.
I have tried to read Bowen before and didn’t have the patience to stick with her prose style – her sentences are sometimes long and curiously arranged. I must be ready for her now, though, as I am in love with her writing and stayed up much too late last night reading The House in Paris. I am always amazed when the right authors turn up at the right times in my life and it is a reminder to me to give authors a second chance.
Have you read Elizabeth Bowen?
What authors are you glad you didn’t give up on?