I've been tagged by The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch to do the Book Meme. My selection isn't really random; when I got home the day she tagged me (days ago), I picked up the book (Memento Mori, by Muriel Spark) I'd just finished, but hadn't put away yet. I've read Memento Mori at least 5 times, and I enjoyed it just as much this time as every other time. But the appropriate lines on the appointed page were just a few words of dialogue, and I didn't have anything to day about them. So I picked up another Muriel Spark; her 1992 autobiograhy, Curriculum Vitae. This is the sparest and least revelatory autobiography you'll ever read; very austere in its treatment of the author's inner life and emotions, but filled with beautiful details of everyday life that were revealing in their own way. Her descriptions of Edinburgh life during her childhood in the 1920s and 1930s are especially charming. I guess this is what a novelist/poet/playwright would do. She's said everything she had to say in her work; she's not willing to lay it all bare, but there are episodes in her life that are vivid or important in one way or another, so these are what she chooses to share. I'd probably approach my memoir in similar fashion; the things I remember are not the occasions, but the occurrences.
Anyway, here are the rules for this meme:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
Page 123, 5th sentence:
"But the parliament, consisting of elected members, all white, ran the internal business of the country.."
"The country came under the vague shadow of the Dominions Office, allied to the Colonial Office, especially in the field of Native Affairs. The law, like that of most of colonial Africa, was Roman Dutch. It was an unusual situation, never very satisfactory"
Read more about Muriel Spark here. She married young, and lived in colonial Africa with her husband until the violence caused by his mental illness was no longer tolerable; she took her toddler son to live with her parents in Scotland, and went herself to London to work in the British Foreign Office. In addition to poetry, plays, and biography, she wrote exceptionally fine novels, including Memento Mori, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Girls of Slender Means, Loitering with Intent, The Finishing School, and others. In A Far Cry from Kensington, the protagonist is an editorial assistant in a postwar London publishing house. She develops a strong dislike for an author, and begins to refer to him, and then to address him directly, as "Pisseur de Copie". I might rename my blog "Pisseur de Copie".
Now for my victims. I am tagging Dr. Zaius, DistributorcapNY, Guv'ner, Queen of Scots, The Italian Bird, and Suze. Get busy, Literary Lions and Lionesses!