Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tom's Midnight Garden

I am reading Tom's Midnight Garden to the Noodle as his bed time reading. The book is all about a child with insomnia, so I suppose there is some kind of irony there.

At first the Noodle was expecting it to be a funny book (indicating what he has been reading to himself recently), but once he realised it was more serious he brought his serious attention to the story. He always wants to skip the bits about Uncle Alan becoming irritable at Tom, but he is quite delighted by how Uncle Alan is often wrong, that Tom's experiences are beyond clever Uncle Alan's knowledge and perception.

The Noodle commented last night, as we approach the whole skating-to-Ely bit of the story, that soon Hatty's time will be catching up with Tom's. He figured out that Tom's reasoning about how long ago Hatty's time is might be wrong - the Victorian era was very long indeed and Tom assumes that Hatty is from the very start of it. Which of course she isn't. I am very pleased, because I think that he will find the ending very satisfying. His question was whether or not Tom would go back into the Garden to find Hatty old. I love the way the book explores the different paces of adult time and child time so that a child can understand it.

I myself am reading Wolf Hall. She tries to avoid that trap of historical novels in which the characters that we are interested in have somehow more 'modern' opinions than the others. I wish I didn't have to go to work so I could keep reading it all day and find more things to think about.

I am also reading a manuscript of short stories written by a Brisbane friend which I found in my letterbox when I came home from the beach. After I have told her what I think, I'll tell you all as well, so that you can all immediately read the collection as soon as it is published. I do like having clever (and slightly scary) friends.

2 comments:

Roger Parkinson said...

Sliding time scales? Takes brains to keep track of that stuff. We're re-watching Dr Who at the moment and isn't it odd how relaxed we are about time travel and a box that is bigger on the inside than the outside?

Modern opinions in historical characters is a seductive trap. I struggle with that in mine. I've a character who is one of the good guys, and quite highly placed in the political administration, but it does not (cannot!) occur to him that slavery and child prostitution ought to be against the law, even when he feels sorry for individuals involved. The really hard part is making him convincing when he's explaining to someone else why he can't do anything about it.

victorian heart quilts said...

Your blog has got me hooked. I wish my mom read to me when I was a kid.