Saturday, July 03, 2010
Rereading Anne of Ingleside
After this latest reread, Anne of Ingleside remains my least favourite Anne book, and my least favourite but one L.M. Montgomery novel. Anne's children are noxiously cute and her perfect motherhood cloying. But I'm glad to have dipped back into it all the same for the dark undercurrent in it that intrigues me. I remembered the story of Peter Kirk's funeral, and of Anne and Gilbert's anniversary reunion with Christine Stuart as strong points of the book. But I don't think that I'd noticed before that most of the rest of the episodes in it, even the cutesy kid ones, are also tales of disillusionment. I'm looking forward to reading The Blythes are Quoted with this fresh in my mind and thinking about these books together as examplars of what editor Benjamin Lefebvre terms Montgomery's "late style." Also, speaking of style, this time around I appreciated how well structured Anne of Ingleside is, weaving deftly through seasons and years and in and out of key moments in different characters' lives, and thereby painting a rich picture of the Blythe household and the broader Glen St. Mary community. Finally, the meeting of Susan Baker and Rebecca Dew, two of my favourite characters in Montgomery's oeuvre and indeed in literature generally, is in itself worth the price of admission. What fun Montgomery must have had writing that bit of dialogue and the correspondence that followed. On now to a reread of Rainbow Valley.