Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ELEVEN by Patricia Highsmith

Look what arrived this morning! This collection of short stories was recommended to me by Debra Hamel (whose TRYING NEAIRA I am reading at the moment and finding quite fascinating - did you know, for instance, that in Ancient Greece the lower class prostitutes had nails in their shoes which spelt out the message 'Follow me,' in the dust as they walked? This sort of detail really brings this long-forgotten world alive in the book).

Anyway, back to the snail anthology - ELEVEN by Patricia Highsmith... This collection of short stories was first published in 1945 and the edition that came through the post this morning is quite old but in good condition. I started reading the first story called THE SNAIL WATCHER as soon as it arrived and have to report it includes the most lovingly and closely observed description of snails mating I have encountered in my life.

There is another one to do with snails in the collection too (another tip-off from Debra) called THE QUEST FOR BLANK CLAVERINGI but I am leaving that one until later as a treat for myself.


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