Reading Update– 8/13
“Certain wintry branches of candles on the high chimney-piece faintly lighted the chamber; or, it would be more expressive to say, faintly troubled its darkness. It was spacious, and I dare say had once been handsome, but every discernible thing in it was covered with dust and mould, and dropping to pieces. The most prominent object was a long table with a tablecloth spread on it, as if a feast had been in preparation when the house and the clocks all stopped together. An epergne or centre-piece of some kind was in the middle of this cloth; it was so heavily overhung with cobwebs that its form was quite undistinguishable; and, as I looked along the yellow expanse out of which I remember its seeming to grow, like a black fungus, I saw speckled-legged spiders with blotchy bodies running home to it, and running out from it, as if some circumstance of the greatest public importance had just transpired in the spider community.”
Great Expectations, Chapter Eleven
The scene above is a description of a room in the house of Miss Havisham, the cobweb-covered center piece soon revealed to be a wedding cake. Or the remains of one. Raise your hand if that’s the creepiest image you’ve ever visualized.
Personally, I thought it was exceptionally creepy and disgusting, especially put together with what comes before, when I read it yesterday. Today I’ve reached page 130, which gives me about 470 to go.
I also spent a portion of today catching up on the last few days’ worth of Clarissa. I’ve started volume 8, and so far, as it has been for weeks, it’s much of the same. I’ve been informed that something big is coming by an LT member who’s read ahead, although I don’t know what that is yet. I can only hope that it won’t be something terrible because the last terrible thing that happened in the book left me a bit depressed for a couple hours, in spite of the books’ long-winded nature.
With this book, it’s not that nothing exciting ever happens, it’s that each exciting event is surrounded in layers and layers of purposeless padding, and in the immediate wake of anything of significant, the characters descend like scavengers and dissect it to death. The book could be quite good if it were only shorter. It’s great fun to imagine a modern-day editor attacking it with huge red x’s of cross outs.