Matisse: Studio Interior (image from here)
I have just finished reading The Cupboard by Rose Tremain. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the journey it takes. The story is of the life of a young Suffolk farm girl, Erica Marsh, told when she is old and looking back. It moves through extraordinary times and economic situations, two world wars, fascinating characters - almost unbelievably, and yet like a dream it grips with its own reality. And in contrast to the experience are the extracts from Erica's novels: allegorical, magical: another deeper level of dreamland. Harsh reality is there too both in Erica's life and in the experiences of the young partly drawn journalist to whom she is telling her history.
Rose Tremain is one of those storytellers who grips me right from the beginning, and takes me on wondrous journeys through time and space. The first book of hers I read was The way I found her, set in Paris when we were on a long stay in Paris. I was immersing myself in books set in or about the city, and this novel hooked me.
Again set in France, in a part of the South that I know, the next Rose Tremain novel I read was Trespass. From there I have gone on to enjoy two collections of short stories Evangelista's Fan and The Colonel's Daughter, and the wonderful The Colour, a novel set in the New Zealand gold rush.
I've got The Road Home to try next, after reading Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore - I very much enjoyed Moore's first novel The Lighthouse - about a man who for a large part of the story is on a walking holiday in Germany. It is not just the stories both these writers tell, but the wondrous pictures they conjure, and especially the characters they present which entrance me.
Vuillard: Young woman at a linen cupboard (image from here)