Are you codding me with all this stravaging?

January 29, 2020

Brian Moore, last seen on this blog Irishly having tea, uses a couple of interesting dialect words in his 1958 novel The Feast of Lupercal. One of them, codding, is in my idiolect in various forms, including codology; the other, stravaging, I’ve seldom seen and had to look up.

An old sexton, dusting the church in the evening, is obliged to let in two people preparing for a play:

… some people had no consideration, stopping a man in the middle of his work. Every afternoon for the past week they had come stravaging up for their rehearsals, the pair of them. Once, they even came back at night.

Brooding on the interruption, the sexton is annoyed that the church hall is regularly opened for plays, lectures, card games, and ‘all kinds of codology’. Later he wonders, ‘Are they codding me, or what?’ Then two other characters have this exchange:

‘So help me God it was the first time I ever tried.’

‘That’s the best yet. Who do you think you’re codding, Devine?’

‘I’m not codding!’

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Irishly having tea

March 1, 2017

Passing through the pleasingly named town of Gort on my way to the Burren recently, I popped in to a second-hand bookshop and picked up a couple of Brian Moore books I hadn’t read: Catholics and The Doctor’s Wife. Everything I’ve read by Moore has been time well spent, yet most people I ask have not read him, and many have not heard of him.

brian-moore-catholics-books-cover-penguinCatholics (1972) is more novella than novel, around 80 pages long in my Penguin paperback edition. Work won’t allow a single-sitting read today, so I’m taking bites from it on my breaks. The title is straightforwardly descriptive: a young American priest is sent from Rome to a remote island off the west coast of Ireland, where old and new Catholicism square up against each another.

The young priest, Kinsella, has just landed on the island – the first time it hosted a helicopter – and meets with the presiding Abbot in a large parlour. Sitting on rough furniture carved by the local monks, with Atlantic light streaming in through a 13th-century window, they enact a ritual within rituals:

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Bookmash no. 21: Not Scared

June 21, 2013

My new bookmash is more a story fragment than a found poem. But the format remains the same.

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Not Scared

I am Mary Dunne,
Rosemary’s baby.
The fifth child, Liza,
Earthbound the beginning of spring –
Almost there, in other words.

I’m not scared.

(All names have been changed.)

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(click to enlarge)

stan carey - bookmash book spine story - not scared

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Thank you to the authors: Brian Moore, Ira Levin, Doris Lessing, Ivan Turgenev, Richard Matheson, Penelope Fitzgerald, Nuala O’Faolain, C.J. Moore, Niccolò Ammaniti, and Claire Kilroy; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.

Bookmashes are great fun to make, so feel free to add one to the thread below or let me know if you post one elsewhere. They work best with a photo, but it’s not essential. There are lots more in the bookmash archive, including links to other people’s.