Chapter 38 - Solstice
In many ways, the perfect chapter. It begins:
The Barque of the Year was in its final stages of preparation. Garlands of holly – bright red berries against glossy dark green – almost obliterated the gunwale, whilst still more were hammered into place. A fiddler, muffled in what appeared to be half a dozen cloaks, played ‘The Old Year is A-Falling’, the melody curiously distinct above the hammering. Snow fell in flakes soft as goose down, spiralling to the damp pavement – and showing no sign of settling.
Perfect, in the sense that it is not only the Solstice festival (with the happy traditions, I guess, of our own world’s Christmas) – with presents, dressing-up etc – but with destinies fulfilled and future destinies budding towards a future fulfilment – with Fluff a major character in this (who I sense has matured even as the novel itself progressed almost like a literary destiny with any narrators just keeping an eye on the craft’s tiller) – Fluff almost a counterpart of Tuerqui herself, except softer because she hasn’t had to experience what Tuerqui has experienced. Tuerqui is often soft and gauche, like Fluff, but more edgy and feisty.
The synchronised shards of random truth and fiction. Or the random shards of synchronised truth and fiction?
Even the typos and queries kept away in this perfect chapter!
Two lovely passages (among many):
Lisa-Louise had commanded me sufficiently to save my sanity – but, alas, she had no choice but to leave me half princess, half slave. It had been inevitably so with the daily demands placed upon me. The Solstice, by contrast, was a day out from the ordinary world. It was a time for joy in harness mates, delight in shared servitude.
There was silence. In the quiet, I felt the power of the goddess coursing through me. No longer was I Tuerqui, the slave – nor Princess Margaret of the Blood Victoria. Instead, in that moment, I was the avatar of the goddess, her living embodiment.
Following this perfection, I wonder what impends? :- o
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/odalisque.html