THE EDGE OF DAY by Laurie Lee
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Book-of-the-Month selection will introduce Laurie Lee to readers who have not known him through his enchanting record of travels in Andalusia- A Rose for Winter (Morrow- 1956), travels with a violin to earn bed and board for himself and his wife. Or made earlier acquaintance in a volume of verse, The Sun My Monument (Doubleday- 1947). But in both books the greatest distinction lay in the writer's gift for imagery, his acute sense of beauty, his ability to share his joy in the passionate awareness of the loveliness- as well as the malevolence- of the world through which he moved. Now comes this book of prose reminiscence- recall of the awakening years of childhood, from three, when he was set down from a carrier's cart in June grass which towered above him- and lived through an awesome day --pushed from spot to spot -- as the family of eight settled into a new life in a stone Cotswold cottage. The record closes at twelve, when adolescence was alerting new senses, and ""cider with Rosie"", which gave the English edition its title, made him sharply aware of senses he had scarcely known. This is the reflection of those years, too often, perhaps inevitably, enlivened by adult perception and reinterpretation of childhood memories. The time was the late '20's, for the Cotswolds the end of an era in which the horse and eight miles an hour marked the boundaries of their knowledge of an outer world. ""The year revolved around the village, the festivals round the year, the church round the festivals, the Squire round the church and the village round the Squire."" It is all here, as experienced -- or felt- by one small sensitive boy, living in the midst of the confusion and the squalor his mother created. The family, deserted by the father, lived on the edge of hopeless poverty, but they scarcely knew they were poor, so rich had their starry-eyed mother made them in the bounty of nature. The village was no pagan paradise; it had its full rollcall of crime, its queer and occasionally vicious characters. But it had its outings and its chorals, its parochial teas, its seasonal games and celebrations. Best of all are the individual anecdotes, the endearing profiles of personalities, and first and last, the portrait of a haphazard, scatterbrained, superstitious, erratic and enchanting mother. Not a book for all tastes; it is overlush in its imagery, too highly sensitized in its awareness. But for many tastes, it has unadulterated charm, brimful, running over.

Publisher: Morrow