‘I find it very difficult to distinguish between life and fiction’
It is a very exciting moment when you realise that the opportunity has come to read the innermost thoughts of an author whose work you so admire, perfectly nestled amongst the finest examples of their writing.
Literature is full of ‘doubles’: characters who seem to move in tandem; or twins, whose familial bond and similarities are frequently employed for farcical effect. In Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’, for example, the sense of a clear identity becomes a tangled mess as Viola, in disguise as a boy called Cesario, falls in love with Duke Orsino, who loves Olivia; Viola has to deliver Orsino’s love letters to Olivia, who quickly falls in love with her as Cesario. Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother who she thought had died, enters on stage, and Olivia is soon smitten with him.
The High Mountains of Portugal is comprised of three stories whose connection become clear throughout the book: the first, and strongest in my opinion, features Tomás in 1904 who discovers a journal, untouched since it was written by a Father Ulisses in the mid-seventeenth century, which details an object that he has made. Tomás makes it his mission to find the object. It chronicles his journey (in one of the very first Renault cars) through the high mountains of Portugal.
There was an excitable buzz last night at the launch of Daisy Dunn’s debut books: Catullus’ Bedspread: The Life of Rome’s Most Erotic Poet and The Poems of Catullus, at Peter Harrington Rare Books in Dover Street, Mayfair.
Among the 200+ guests pounding the shop’s floor were Ian and Victoria Hislop, Sir Simon Jenkins, Hannah Kaye, Mike Grady, Hugo Williams, Giles Milton, Suzannah Lipscomb, Michael Cockerell, Gordon Corera, Thane Prince…