The Book of Ebenezer le Page

Michael Hofmann writes:

There is a rare wholeness about The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. You get the entire man, in a way that isn’t usually within the gift of literature to procure. It is ‘the book of’ in the prosaic sense that Edwards’s character speaks it (or writes it in his three big notebooks bought for 18/6 at ‘the Press Office in Smith Street’ in St Peter Port); but also ‘of’ in the sense of ‘made into’. It is Ebenezer made into a book. (Bohumil Hrabal’s Too Loud a Solitude comes to mind, with its paper-baler who is finally baled up himself.) William Golding put it admirably when he said: ‘To read it is not like reading but living.’ It is like reading with no clothes on.

(LRB 24 January 2008)

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