I finally got around to reading 84,
It also doesn't hurt that Helene goes gaga for Pride & Prejudice and The Wind in the Willows. As a result, I'm able to ignore her critiques of fiction in general.
Anyway, go out and buy it. It only takes a couple of hours to read, but I need a copy for my shelves to reread often. And rent the movie, which is great. For your enjoyment I provide below a portion of one of Helene's funnier letters:
"i don't know frankie--
Somebody gave me this book for Christmas. It's a Giant Modern Library book. Did you ever see one of those? It's less attractively bound than the Proceedings of the New York State Assembly and it weighs more. It was given to me by a gent who knows I'm fond of John Donne. The title of the book is:
The Complete Poetry & Selected Prose of
& The Complete Poetry of
The question mark is mine. Will you please tell me what those two boys have in common?--except they were both English and they both Wrote? I tried reading the Introduction figuring that might explain it. The Introduction is in four parts. Parts I and II include a Professor's life of Donne mit-illustrations-from-the-author's-
works-also-criticism. Part III begins--and God knows I quote--:
'When, as a little boy, William Blake saw the prophet Ezekiel under a tree amid a summer field, he was soundly trounced by his mother.'
I'm with his mother. I mean, the back of the Lord God or the face of the Virgin Mary, all right--but why the hell would anybody want to see the prophet Ezekiel?
I don't like Blake anyway, he swoons too much, it's Donne I'm writing about, I am being driven clear up the wall, Frankie, you have GOT to help me."