Thursday, 10 May 2012

Vita interrupta

Well, the online translator tells me this is how you interrupt a life in Latin but please tell me, anyone, if it's not so. I'm across the Tasman at present (like Ratty, yes! strange that) so my work is being done in even shorter fits and starts than usual.

 I wanted to let you know that The Glass Harmonica: a sensualist's tale has been reduced in price by four dollars to 7 USD.

The cover of The Glass Harmonica will always be dear to my heart. Not only because it covers a novel dear to my heart and Rosa Mira's first (which speaks, too, of the trust and courage of its writer, Dorothee). But also because it was hand painted by Christine Buess of Dunedin, the design suggested to her by a description in the novel of the waistcoat Chjara borrows from her employer, the prurient opium addict, Victor Ravenaugh.

He opened his eyes and saw her: dressed in his own clothes. Dressed in his pantaloons. Stuffing his boots. She turned away from him when she tucked a rolled cloth between her legs, a cloth he couldn’t see hid a single hard gold coin. He would have spoken to her sharply but he had no energy for rebuking her at that moment; her arms were raised, her neck tilted back, and her long hair swept to the middle of her back. She was braiding it.

Victor Ravenaugh had not seen a woman braid her hair for a hundred years. She pulled on his wig from the days of Louis XVI, then she wrapped herself in his ivory silk shirt with the matching ivory waistcoat. The waistcoat had been stitched all over by those Asian devils with silk-thread blooms and pink butterflies and his favorite ornament, the bright red tomato or pomme d’amour, that exotic discovery of the Americas. She did not look at him as she left, and he imagined he saw his better self. Going. At last, gone.

Dorothee has recently been preparing a mixed-media ebook drawing on some of her fascinating findings while writing the novel, about America's first sexual revolution. Such Were My Temptations: Bawdy Americans 1760-1830 will be available soon. I'll keep you posted. 

A new batch of excerpts from Slightly Peculiar Love Stories can be read here.

Meanwhile, here in Victoria, beach walks are punctuated by little gems such as this no-longer-puffing puffer fish which, as you'll know, is the world's second most poisonous vertebrate after the golden poison frog. Almost all puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a substance that makes them foul tasting and often lethal to fish. To humans, tetrodotoxin is deadly, up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one puffer fish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote.

I didn't touch it.


Anonymous said...

Fortunately, it is not really inviting :O)

Alexiev said...


Best wishes from Buenos Aires...
Proyectos - Illustrations
Alexiev Store - venta de originales
@alexievg en twitter

Penelope said...

Thanks, Alexiev. I've enjoyed looking at the rich and varied work on your site.

Jayne said...

Oh goodness, Penelope, I wouldn't touch it either!

Bawdy Americans. Now that sounds very interesting. I'm going to have to return later to follow those links. If I jump in now I know I'll never get to sleep! :)

Penelope said...

Sleep first, links later . .. hello Jayne. :-)