happy bastille day! and some recs
Happy Bastille Day! We are making Julia Child's coq au vin (classic but mercifully uncomplicated) and shall watch a French film and perhaps even open a bottle of champagne in celebration. And I shall study French.
There is so much to celebrate today. perverse_idyll, I will especially be toasting you! Tetley, Kelly and TRS, a heartfelt toast to you as well in beloved Berlin!
At present I am exceptionally behind on my fest reading thanks to a number of circumstances. Over the past few days, I have only read three stories. All three are breathtaking, gorgeous and full of surprises, but only two are publicly available at present, so I shall leave one of those recs for later.
And It Could Be Me, And It Could Be Thee (Griselda Marchbanks, Augusta Longbottom, Neville, Harry, Dudley, Minerva, Pomona Sprout, et al) defies my paultry abilities of description to summarise. It is dense with historical and political and domestic and literary and surprising, satisfying canon-enriching details, but not in the way of a dull encyclopedia; no this narrative lives through its historical and political situatedness, through the specificity of its context which fills the language with the brilliance of unexpected colour and the form, the immediacy of intaken breath. And rhythm and poise, -- the language alone is STUNNING. There is such intelligence in the writing, such wit, and it not only serves as the perfect complement to the two formidable women at the narrative's heart, but lends them reality as neither mere genial plot nor mere bright reflexivity could. I could go on and on about the language: how it is no mere vehicle, but also no mere self-absorbed game -- only I fear repeating myself stupidly. There are lessons here that struck me hard; together with Harry and Neville and Dudley I sat once again before a venerable great-grandmother and absorbed and learned and -- cried. Now I am not even making sense. This story deserves a far more eloquent response; you will not regret taking the time to read it.
From the first day of the Third Test in the 1948 Ashes, Augusta Longbottom – as she became in 1949 – rejoiced in the friendship and guidance of Griselda Marchbanks, and in her example: the proof vivant that a Witch could live her own life, marry, raise a family, and yet make a difference, pursuing such courses and engaging in such researches as she listed. More than anything, it was the simple fact that Madam Marchbanks remained her friend, confidante, advisor, and regular co-conspirator in slipping away to cricket matches, even whilst Griselda mentored Minerva and others, that confirmed to Augusta that her choice, to eschew employment and academic work, was an equal and worthy one, which did not carry any imputation of surrender or defeat or choosing a second-best – and which did not foreclose an intellectual life.
sarkysue's Yet Here You Stand (A Snarry Novella) is the kind of Snarry I physically crave and yet cannot write on my own, a mangled relationship defined by brokenness and stubbornness and uncontrollable anger and unstated, instinctual understanding and sheer need, where neither can sever himself from the other entirely, even if one hates the tie, even if one hates that one loves the other, even if one truly loves. The structure of this piece is particularly effective: it is composed of three non-linear parts (or four, if you like: there are two epilogues) which move forward, then backward in time, respectively, giving the reader very gradual insight into a relationship that, on the surface, seems everything but functional or good. Although initially somewhat disappointed by the structure, which seemed to move forward in time with relentless speed, barely stopping to provide insight into the scenes, I soon realised that anything but could be the case, that the author was in fact stretching the tension, slowing down the pace, and thus leading the reader to even more satisfying dénouement than I could have ever anticipated.
Snape is a proper bastard here, spine-tinglingly wonderful whenever on stage, and his interaction with Harry all the more satisfying and real for it always consisting or culminating in verbal or physical assault. sarkysue has an enviable gift for sarcasm, for wounding and defensive dialogue; at the same time her Snape is one who has almost physical trouble speaking except by deflection, except to wound, which I found to be very satisfying. If fluff bothers you, if you like your Snape nasty and ugly and yet, in his own way, deeply capable of love and soulsearching, if you believe that both Harry and Snape cannot have escaped the war unscathed, untroubled, untouched, then I think you will find this a wonderful, wonderful read.
He attempts to read an article on Muggle economics but can’t concentrate and eventually flings the newspaper against the wall. It wasn’t supposed to be like this anymore, he thinks bitterly. He’d done everything he could, he was working for the good cause, he was moving on. Why, then, was everything permeated with this sense of loss, with this burning resentment? And why did his mind seem so steadfast in attaching those things to Potter? He was supposed to be free, finally released from the thankless task of being Potter’s minder the day Bellatrix Lestrange was unceremoniously killed, but here he is, years later and only just managing to pull some sort of life together out of the crappy tatters he’d been left with. The room’s starting to feel too small again, and by Merlin, he needs a drink.
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