Of Wych Elms, Shiny Bells and a Star (Thoughts on Tana French’s latest, Henny’s color-along, and Yukio Mishima’s book coming in April)

It took me three weeks to finish Tana French’s The Witch Elm, partly because I’ve been quite distracted this Fall and Winter, and partly because I found it quite long. In between reading chapters about Toby and his cousins, and detective Rafferty’s exploration behind the finding of a body in the wych elm of their uncle’s garden, I have been coloring.

In particular, I have been enjoying Henny’s Christmas color-along of Shiny Bells on YouTube. The template was only $1.75, and she has been putting up daily tutorials here. I figure if more people come to see the origami pages I have published, than the thoughts I have on books, it can do no harm to post a few thoughts on colored pencil. While my drawing only vaguely resembles hers, it is great fun to follow along and learn what she has to say about shading and blending.

I found myself comparing The Witch Elm to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, one of my favorite novels. They are similar in that both authors create such an atmospheric mood, while bringing their characters to life. The Witch Elm was less than a mystery, I think, than an exploration of relationships, as well as the way that Toby had to manage a series of consequences that had deadly results. I liked it until the end, where I must absorb Toby’s new nature. Or, perhaps it was the nature he had within him all along.

In other news, I am ready to begin two new novels by Yukio Mishima.

One is entitled The Frolic of The Beasts. The other was send to me by New Directions Publishing, entitled Star which will be published April 30, 2019. It is described as such: “For the first time in English, a glittering novella about stardom from “one of the greatest avant-garde Japanese writers of the twentieth century” (Judith Thurman, The New Yorker)

My passion for Japanese literature never wans, and I will be sure to post some thoughts on these as soon as I have read them in case you would be interested in picking them up as well.

6 thoughts on “Of Wych Elms, Shiny Bells and a Star (Thoughts on Tana French’s latest, Henny’s color-along, and Yukio Mishima’s book coming in April)”

  1. I loved Tana French’s earlier books, but haven’t had any interest in her most recent since I was so disappointed with The Secret Place. I didn’t even try The Tresspasser. Or maybe I did and I don’t remember trying and giving up on it!

    I’m jumping back into the blogosphere after being away for almost a month. I’ve missed my dear friends and I’m eager to start sharing some book reviews and travel posts once again. I hope you are well and enjoying this holiday season. You must feel much more relaxed this year, now that you’re retired.



    1. It’s hard when one gets frustrated with an author and loses interests in reading any more works published by him/her. That happened to me with Margaret Atwood, whose early works I adore, but apocalyptic crap can go in the bin, as far as I’m concerned. My dislike began with the wildly popular The Handmaid’s Tale and ended with Oryx and Crake, the last book of hers I read.

      It has been a difficult season for us, hasn’t it? My own beloved father is going back to the hospital today for more heart procedures, when he was there just one week ago today.

      I miss the friends I have in the blogworld, and yet my passion for blogging ebbs and flows. Usually ebbing, I think. But, I am feeling more relaxed this year without the pressures of teaching. Love to you, xo


  2. You must really enjoy mystery novels in order to love Tana French, I think. I like how she draws her characters, so lifelike and complex, which makes her crime fiction stand out for me. I just finished the first in her Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods, and have read most of the rest, out of sequence.

    I hope to enjoy Mishima’s books too. Literary fiction is also on my list!


    1. I really like how Tana French writes dialogue, and develops her characters. They always sounds so authentic to me. I didn’t like In the Woods, somehow, or The “Something” Harbor (can’t remember!), but the others have been so good, in my opinion.

      I have only read Mishima’s The Golden Pavilion, so I am eager to read more of his work. We both love literary fiction, and translated at that, don’t we?!


  3. Ah, now I’ve discovered your origami pages! I love those bookmarks – I’ll have to try that. You make it look so simple. I can see why they’re popular. But don’t worry – I’ll still come and read the thoughts you have on books 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How sweet of you to hunt up my origami posts; that is above and beyond the call of commenting! The bookmark is quite large, on purpose, so that one could follow the directions more easily. You can make it of much smaller paper, with greater effect, using any odd bit of paper you have. Even wrapping paper from Christmas.

      Your last sentence is a gift to me. Thank you.


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