Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Persephone Reading Week: Bricks and Mortar (Ashton)
Having spent most of today at Bekonscot model village, Bricks and Mortar seemed like a highly appropriate choice when I got home, since it tells the story of an architect over 40 years of his life in the 1890s. Having peered at tiny little houses, churches and other buildings (there is a zoo, several schools and a fun fair too!) it felt right to read about someone who plans these things.
Helen Ashton, according to the introduction, wrote about 25 novels in the 1930s, but is now largely forgotten. Another reason why I wanted to read this book this week, is that it isn't one of the more famous Persephone titles and I wanted to bring it to everyone's attention.
One of the things I liked so much about this book was the description of the buildings; the ones he inhabited and the ones that he visited. I think Ashton is really successful in perceiving things in the way that an architect might, and one gets a real sense of this through the book. I also learnt a lot about the architectural profession and the process of designing buildings.
There is a story too - about his marriage, and the subsequent children, and the interference of his formiddable mother, but it is the descriptions of the buildings in the book which really make it in my opinion.
I would love to seek out some more titles by Ashton as a result of reading this book. I like the sound of the one, mentioned on the dustwrapper, about the day in the life of a doctor - if it is anything like this one, then