21 Jan 2019 – currently reading, more to come.
Laurie Lee’s poetic reminisces are a refreshing change from the usual rose-tinted ramblings of those who have embraced every aspect of modern culture – the new cars, the TVs, once-a-week supermarket shopping and a fridge full of abundance and variety – yet yearn for a past they have not just forgotten but almost entirely abandoned.
He writes honestly, and vividly, and I Can’t Stay Long is a collection of “odd piles and packages of manuscripts – the result of a generation of occasional prose writings”. The book is divided into three parts: his country childhood and departure from it; abstract considerations of love and the senses, birth and death; and descriptions of a series of voyages.
I am made uneasy by any form of writing which cannot readily be spoken aloud.
Eight-Year-Old World stands out as a short reminder of how we once thought of children. The entirety of our very local world, and the enormous misunderstandings about the wider one. It’s worth buying the book just for this chapter.