That They Might Lovely Be By David Matthews
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1802.0 KB
- Print Length: 433 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1785356232
By Kelly L
No-one thought Bertie Simmonds could speak. So, when he is heard singing an Easter hymn, this is not so much the miracle some think as a bolt drawn back, releasing long-repressed emotions with potentially devastating consequences… A decade later, Bertie marries Anstace, a woman old enough to be his mother, and another layer of mystery starts to peel away. Beginning in a village in Kent and set between the two World Wars, That They Might Lovely Be stretches from the hell of Flanders, to the liberating beauty of the Breton coast, recounting a love affair which embraces the living and the dead.
David Matthews grew up in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. Following his degree at
King’s College London and various jobs, including selling personalized matchboxes
and working in a Covent Garden printing house, David became a teacher. He taught English for twenty-two years and was a head teacher for eleven His play ‘Under the Shadow of Your Wings’ was professionally directed and performed in the summer of 2015, as part of Croydon’s heritage festival. He now divides his time between family life in Croydon and renovating a cottage in south-west France.
Shelves of Books By David Matthews
The arrival of the e-book could not have come at a more opportune moment for me. When you are a book-hoarder, as my wife and I are, in the end you run out of places to fit bookshelves. We live in a Victorian semi where most rooms have natural alcoves on either side of the old fireplaces. Shelves can easily be stretched across them. Even so, we had exhausted all possibilities. Inherited sets of Dickens, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott can be found downstairs with my wife’s Latin and Greek texts from her university days. On the landing, making use of a corner abutting the airing cupboard, there’s a set of shelves for children’s books: the classics and the best of the moderns. (It used to be my habit, every summer, to read the Carnegie shortlist – a wonderful indulgence!) And each of our sons has his own book-case. However, it is in the study at the top of the house, that most of our books are housed and here every shelf is double-stacked, with one or two volumes from each writer visible and the rest piled behind.
Every writer wants to be read so there is nothing remarkable about having the walls of the room where I write covered with books. There are a couple of A-level set texts (E.M Forster’s A Passage to India, and Joseph Conrad’s Nostromo, for example). There are numerous Penguin classics dating from university days when I studied English at King’s College, London, and immersed myself for the first time in the works of Charles Dickens, George Eliot and Henry James. Those tatty tomes still have my under-linings and marginal annotations – some excruciatingly naïve. Then there are books I taught to my own A-level students. Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, Graham Swift’s Waterland and Henry James’ A Portrait of a Lady were great favourites. There are other novels, bequeathed to me by my aunt. Some were delightful discoveries like Under New Management by Naomi Jacob and The Canon in Residence by V.L. Whitechurch. The majority of the books on the shelves, however, are those I and my wife have read for pleasure over the decades, perhaps recommended by friends, perhaps plucked from the stacks in Waterstone’s, devoured and then shelved. Sometimes what they were about is forgotten but it is rare, once the book has been picked up and the pages shuffled that the story does not come flooding back and that personal time, when first it was read, evoked.
So, if you browse my book-shelves, you will have before you my reading history. Pluck a few surnames from the middle of the alphabet and you will find Malcolm Lowry, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan and Toni Morrison. Further along, there are dozens of Anthony Trollope dating from the early days of our marriage when my wife worked through the Palliser novels and I the Barchester Chronicles; then we swapped. High literature rubs shoulders with the lightest of reading, like Georgette Heyer’s canon. And there is everything in between.
Sometimes a book is lent and occasionally it never returns. There are a few gaps on my shelves where a favourite novel should be sitting. One notable absence is John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany; it should be there next to A Widow for One Year. A Prayer for Owen Meany was the first Irving I read. Bowled over by it, I pushed it on to everyone I could. It’s probably not surprising that, somewhere or other, it went astray. I hope my copy is still being enjoyed, perhaps by a stranger who found it whilst browsing the book-section in a charity-shop on the high street.
The e-book is wonderfully convenient. But I still relish the feel of a tome in my hands. I also like the regular reacquaintance with a front cover and the opportunity to use an old photograph or a feather as a book-mark. You can’t have those experiences with a Kindle.
Browsing book-shelves I built, crammed with books I’ve held and read, is a physical pleasure.
You can order your copy below and at all good bookstores.
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