Highlights of the week included an (as ever) wonderful meeting of the Literary League, in which we read poetry and fairy tales and devoured edible books, probably the most ambitious culinary project I’ve ever tackled. One night Sam and I went out to see Sarah’s new house and went for a nighttime ramble in the fields around their farm. In other, less pleasant news, I ran into a new potential stalker at the apartment complex (why, oh why me) and had an unpleasant dentist appointment involving drills and nerve blocks and whatnot. (Though I guess if you’re going to have the drill, you darn well better have the nerve block.)




I read The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett, which is the third book in her Lymond Chronicles series. I think the Dunnett obsession grows very slowly, but once it’s upon you, you don’t have a hope of escape. This book was bloody brilliant. Dunnett’s writing is so intelligent, I feel somewhat like a little kid sitting at the adults’ table, only understanding about half of the conversation. She uses words that even I’ve never heard of—that sounds terribly arrogant, I realize, but it’s a fact that I rarely run across a word I don’t know. “Corymb,” “calyx,” “firlot”…I had to look all of them up. Her books are so full; this one was just over 500 pages of tiny print, and each line is so filled with meaning that it takes considerable digesting. I liked this third book the best so far, probably because I found it the easiest to follow in terms of the history and politics of the time. I still gave myself whiplash several times as I sat up in shock as I got a hint of certain twists. “She wouldn’t…surely…would she?” Oh, she did. Dunnett is a sadistic genius. In every book, she manages to make you absolutely hate the hero, and that takes some doing: we’re conditioned to like the protagonist. But in every book, she still manages to make me despise the hero and love him all over again by the end. She takes characters I thought I loved and turns them into villains. She delights in killing off lovable characters, but she somehow always ends up having such good reasons for doing so. I haven’t run across a writer who can so consistently break my brain in the best of ways in a long time. In summation, I cannot recommend her work highly enough. If you don’t like it at first, please stick with it and give it a good, long chance; it’s worth it!