At the beginning of this book before the novel starts – a laid-back blurb you might read if you pick it up in a bookshop to see if you want to buy it, given the time it might take to read it all, beyond this encapsulation…..About the BookJeremy Pauling is a thirty-eight-year-old bachelor who has never left home. He has a passion for making sculptures out of odds and ends and he has a terror of beautiful women. The death of his mother leaves Jeremy in sole charge of her ramshackle old boarding house, and the arrival of a new lodger brings him a challenge he really can’t handle. Her name is Mary Tell.=============================1 (Amanda 1960)“, a leaning tower of knitting magazines, peacock feathers stuck behind the mirror. Cloudy tumblers half full of stale water, a Scrabble set, a vaporizer, a hairbrush choked with light brown hair, an embroidery hoop, a paperback book on astrology, an egg-stained shawl, doilies on doilies, Sears Roebuck catalogues, ancient quilted photo albums, a glass swan full of dusty colored marbles, plants escaping their pots and sprawling along the windowsill. On the table beside me, a bottle of Jergens lotion and a magnifying glass and a patented news-item clipper. (How…”This is amazing material, pulling me along with long paragraphs of hallucinatory inertia and stagnancy, involving human lives and properties gone to seed, boarders in the apartments dragging these houses even further into spiritual as well as structural entropy. Aickman and Pinter, eat your hearts out, as we get to know and almost sympathise with Amanda, a spinster with still a bit of ‘go’ in her, her widowed sister Laura, and then there is their brother Jeremy, lumpish and ever sitting on the stairs in the house he never leaves and the house has just been left to him alone, left by the mother who doted on him and recently died on the stairs on him where he now sits. Nothing is expected of him, except by Amanda… the funeral arrangements and the sisters’ suitcases alike gone astray. The two sisters had come here to Baltimore from a distance away on being told that their mother had thus died. But died of what? Diets askew, too, mother and son. I lost the will to live when trying to remember all of it in this long chapter. But that was intentional on the text’s part, I guess. To make me feel like them and like Jeremy’s obsessive artworks that were probably hopeless but were a fine ‘ology’ loved by his mother who would have loved ANYTHING he created. Yet the ambiance of this book so far swaddles me with a need to read on. I shall eke out this book with a dietary savouring worthy of Laura and Jeremy, to see if I can digest it and make it into the apotheosis of the dulled-down creative paradoxically co-vivid dream for my own lockdown, an enforced lockdown unlike Jeremy’s self-imposed one… an inertia to die for. The prose style, meanwhile, is perfectly Proustian in a deliciously rich dulled-down way, too.