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"...the pristine glory of this wallpaper..."

In The Boarding-House, William Trevor marvelously describes the monochromatic and faded interior of the titular dwelling, through the eyes of one of its boarders.

A brown wallpaper covered the wall by the staircase. The pattern it bore was one of large oval leaves that once had been depicted in a more subtle variety of shades: purples and dark greens, reds and russets. It was a late-night habit of Mr. Studdy's to lift one of the three Watts reproductions and display for his personal pleasure the pristine glory of this wallpaper, and to make to himself the point about the effect of light on cheaply reproduced color. "A scandal," opined Mr. Studdy more than once, nodding sagely.

After just one chapter I've already been introduced to most of the boarders and staff of the house, all of whom seem appealingly idiosyncratic and/or neurotic. I'm looking forward to immersing myself in their strange little world.

March 19, 2014 in Books | Permalink