Tuesday, April 14, 2009

On the new Drabble

Margaret Drabble's new "semi-memoir" The Pattern in the Carpet: A Personal History With Jigsaws is out in Britain now. I've ordered a copy, as the North American edition isn't out until the fall, and I'm not sure just how much time I'll have for reading then. Right now, you can listen to her reading from it on The Guardian Podcast. In reference to the book, Drabble on occupation and overcoming depression: "We all tackle it in our own ways. I have long been a believer in the therapeutic powers of nature, and had faith that a good, long walk outdoors would always do me good. It might not cure me, but it would do me good." She also claims to have quit writing fiction for fear of repeating herself, which is not so surprising if you examine her oeuvre, and how she has challenged the novel to be something different every time. Perhaps she thinks she's exhausted the possibilities? But reviews of the new book have been favourable. I liked this from The Telegraph: "What a puzzle: Margaret Drabble’s memoir cum history of the jigsaw cum paean to her rather dull aunt shouldn’t really work. But somehow, in the end, it seduces."

Incidentally, Drabble's feud with sister A.S. Byatt is reported to have stemmed from a dispute surrounding-- what else?-- a tea set.