Saturday, 19 September 2009

The Comfort Of The Familiar

A few days ago I wrote about adaptations of books, whether it be for film, television or the theatre. After writing the post I began to think about some of the books that I mentioned and the result has been a desire to read some of them again.

R F Delderfield's A Horseman Riding By trilogy is a story that covers the life of Paul Craddock from 1902 when he is in hospital after being shot in the leg during the Boer War until his death in 1965. It is a monumental story covering a huge part of the 20th Century and relates the impact of the major events of the period on him, his family and the tenants of the farms on the estate in Devon that he buys with part of his inheritance from his father who had died when Paul was critically ill in an English hospital following two botched operations in South Africa after he had been wounded.

As a history of a way of life that existed in this country at that time and how major events like two World Wars changed that way of life, there is probably nothing that can better it. And it doesn't detract from the history by being a fictional account of what happened during that momentous period.

So, having ordered the books from a well-known website and the arrival of two of them yesterday (fortunately one of them was the first volume) I have begun reading Paul Craddock's story again. I first read them after seeing the BBC adaptation of the first volume in the late 1970s, but they were from the library so having read them they had to be returned. Now that I am about to own all three volumes, I will be able to reread them whenever I want.

Reading has been one of the things that has comforted me over the last 11 years. It can be difficult at times, because depression can sometimes make it very difficult to concentrate. But reading something that I am already familiar with does mean that even if I don't always take in what I have been reading, I am familiar enough with the story to not lose out too much.

When you lose the most significant things in your life, the familiar can be life saving; so I shall read whenever I am able to and hope that the writer's skill as a storyteller can help to block out the things that make my life so difficult.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I love to read too. I'm currently reading A Tree Grows In Brooklyn which I would suggest if you haven't read it yet.