Saturday, 13 December 2014

Bellman And Black.

Last Christmas I watched a real atmospheric BBC thriller called The Thirteenth Tale written by Diane Settlerfield .A story about stories within stories and the threads that weave a life together and about how dangerous it is to pluck at those threads. How reason may unravel. it hinted at how the influences that endow certain stories with a chilling edge are sometimes born in dark corners of the mind. A fading author has one tale left untold and the time has come to tell it. It was one of those wee gems you find around this time of year when certain repeats have you grinding your teeth.
                 I learned Dianne Setterfield had also written this; the intriguingly named Bellman And Black. I picked it up thinking it was going to be a ghost story set in a Victorian Flour Mill. It turned out to be so much more. It turned to be the tale of a haunted lifetime. This book was so beautifully composed and almost poetically realised it could not help but impress. The period, the attention to detail, draw the reader into a world now long passed. We also witness the power of self reinvention and the disintegration of a once powerful personality and the harrowing effects caused by delusion and distress.
                  Rooks, Crows, Ravens, all manner of black winged birds populate the narrative. Caw-cawing their way out of the shadows. After reading this book I feel I know a lot more about birds than I did. Although I now feel I know even more about Victorian funeral arrangements. That vast sense of elaborate  mourning.
                  I may well take to the black to mark finishing this melancholy missive for the life of a man who made death his business.