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In several posts

Time for further quotation from In Cold Blood.

Among Garden City’s animals are two grey tomcats who are always together – thin, dirty strays with strange and clever habits. The chief ceremony of their day is performed at twilight. First they trot the length of Main Street, stopping to scrutinize the engine grilles of parked automobiles, particularly those stationed in front of the two hotels, the Windsor and Warren, for these cars, usually the property of travellers from afar, often yield what the bony methodical creatures are hunting: slaughtered birds – crows, chickadees, and sparrows foolhardy enough to have flown into the path of oncoming motorists. Using their paws as though they are surgical instruments, the cats extract from the grilles every feathery particle.

A bit further on, Truman Capote describes someone’s apartment as a ‘gemütlich mélange’ of various pieces of pleasant decor. I had to look gemütlich up. And so will you.

While we’re (kind of) on the subject of diacritics and the like, I picked up a book from the book stall on the South Bank last week: The Darkness that Comes Before by R Scott Bakker. Steven Erikson’s comment on the front cover (which is to say, ‘Steven Erikson’s comment that is located on the front cover’, rather than ‘Steven Erikson’s comment on the subject of the front cover’ … but you knew that anyway) is ‘Something remarkable has begun’. I had a little skim through it and it seems – on the very limited evidence I gathered – to be written quite well.

The remarkable thing in the context of this post, and one of the things that made me buy it (for £3.50) was the made up names employed by this Bakker fellow (yet another Canadian fantasist – he lives in London, Ontario). Names such as: Ishuäl, Anasûrimbor, Kûniüri. And those are just from the first page of the first (!) prologue. Such circumflexes and diaereses, as well as the names themselves, are very reminiscent of Tolkien. As, too, are the maps at the front of this, the first volume of The Prince of Nothing. (A title somewhat similar to the name of a particularly brilliant Metallica song: ‘King Nothing’. Good omens?)

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