Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Annals of the Parish!
Radio 4's Book at Bedtime has done it again. I've remarked before on BatB's habit of occasionally punctuating its dreary succession of emotionally (and politically) correct contemporary novels with a quite bizarre blast from the past. A while back, it was (of all things) The Ingoldsby Legends. This time, it's the equally improbably Annals of the Parish by John Galt. This quietly humorous chronicle of small-town Scottish life was published in 1821 and much praised by, among others, Coleridge. The story is told in the words of the minister, Rev Micah Balwhidder, and gets off to a lively start when he arrives as the new incumbent and finds himself locked out of his own kirk and obliged to climb in through a window. I shall certainly be listening to this with more interest - and less exasperation - than to most of what turns up on Book at Bedtime. Like The Ingoldsby Legends, Annals of the Parish is one of those books that was once very popular and is now unread, living out a long afterlife on the shelves of charity bookshops. It can only be a matter of time before Radio 4 selects The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table for our bedtime listening pleasure... Meanwhile, over on The Dabbler, I reread J.L Carr's A Month in the Country.