Longing Against the Facts of History: ‘The Marriage Portrait’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Last night I watched the movie Three Thousand Years of Longing, starring Tilda Swinton as Alithea, a solitary-but-contented "narratologist," and Idris Elba as the Djinn she inadvertently releases from a bottle bought in an Istanbul shop. Because she's a scholar of stories, Alithea resists falling for the pitfalls inherent in stories of wishes while the … Continue reading Longing Against the Facts of History: ‘The Marriage Portrait’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Rosemary and Pansies, Remembrance and Thoughts: Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies. That's for thoughts."—Ophelia, Hamlet, act IV, scene V. There is something remarkable in the state of Stratford, at least as rendered in Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet: A Novel of the Plague. Something I turn over and over, like an array of items rising … Continue reading Rosemary and Pansies, Remembrance and Thoughts: Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Hamnet’