Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Potato fruit

I was a bit surprised to find this afternoon that some of my potato plants had small, green tomato-style fruit on them. (Although it made a kind of sense because potatoes and tomatoes are related).

Apparently this isn't unusual in certain varieties, the fruit contain the potato seeds, though they're seldom used to grow potatoes from because it's easier to do it from the tubers.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

His guilt so well concealed

The last thing I expected from The Little Friend was to find out who killed Robin Dufresnes, and I wasn't disappointed.

I did wish that Donna Tartt had stuck to her initial subtle indications of date: early on I had to resort to looking up the dates of Hurricane Camille and the MLK assassination to place the action some time around 1978, but I needn't have bothered, because as the book proceeds she starts scattering 70s cultural references like a crazed Southern Peter Kay.

Also she has Hely uncertain of his weight when he reads the Charles Atlas advert in the comic book at the pool hall, despite the fact that in the previous chapter he tells Harriet that he weighs 90 pounds when he's warning her not to try firing the shotguns.

Many people have found the book a disappointing successor to The Secret History, but I find that I'm a lot less impressed with TSH now than I was ten years ago. Its colourless narrator and pretentious protagonists annoy me now. For all its flaws, TLF has closer resonances with my own experience.

Because the end of childhood is just like that - 'nothing is revealed', loose ends are never tied up, friends are lured away by false promises of sophistication and bright dangers are overtaken by sour sorrows.