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Details

It’s always been about the details for me. I love it when writers pay them attention. William Trevor did it well in Love and Summer, as did Edith Wharton in Ethan Frome. The first I am in the middle of reading, the second I’ve just finished listening to. Both describe scenes in farm kitchens. One is in Ireland in the summer, the other is in New England in the winter. Both are slow. The spoken language, the conversation, is rare. The rooms are sparse. In both there is a stove. In one a rocking chair, in the other a sagging sofa. The inhabitants watch each other. Changes in mood are noted but rarely commented on. I love to read, or hear about the women moving around these kitchens. The laying of tables, the putting out of food. The banal sameness of the daily rhythm of things in between which life happens. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. And there is such a feeling of loss when the story ends. Even of grief.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.