Pat Barker describing #landscape

Noonday (2015), Elinor’s diary for October 1940: Another bright, sunny, gritty day, no wind. Water on the marshes steel blue, reflecting light back at the sky, the reeds a vicious yellow-green, the sort of colour you feel can’t possibly occur in nature, but there it is, you’re looking at it.

What picture can I use to reflect that? Nothing obvious. Here are a couple from a trip on the UK’s East Coast Main Line last month: improbable colours in nature


and the steely river Tyne as the train crosses into Newcastle.


“Noonday” is the last of Barker’s Life Class trilogy. I am disappointed – because I have read too much about the second world war (its setting) and not enough about the first war (the setting of the other two)? Or because every character in London gets caught, once or more, in a building that is being bombed, and this seems like too much coincidence?

Another quote I liked from the book: As you get older, you think you’re moving further away from your parents, leaving them behind, but it’s not like that. There’s a trick, a flaw, some kind of hidden circularity in the path, because suddenly in old age, there they are in front of you again, and getting closer by the day.

I think that happens already when you first become a parent yourself.


Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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