The Books of My Numberless Dreams

It’s getting heated

Posted on: January 7, 2007

And Legolas is in the lead. Keep your eyes trained on this spot throughout the year to see who finishes on top. 😉

In an effort to get through my 20 book-high library loan stack I started Ronald Fairbank’s The Flower Beneath the Foot. As I do with some books, I am reading this one blind: I don’t know the plot so I cannot offer a helpful synopsis. What I can do is give you many excerpts along the way so that you may share my pleasurable bewilderment. The characters in this novel are almost too much to be believed, Firbank’s writing style adding another layer of frothy absurdity that I can only shake my head, laugh, furrow my brow and occasionally stop in wonder. Hollinghurst’s claims of the dour criticism heaped on Firbanks’ works by most of the serious critical establishment are all too easily imagined–and that heightens the novel’s merriments.

…his Weariness the Prince entered the room in all his tinted Orders.

Handsome to tears, his face, even when he had been a child, lacked innocence. His was of that magnolia order of colouring, set off by pleasantly untamed eyes, and teeth like flawless pearls.

“You’ve seen them? What are they like…? Tell Mother, darling?” the Queen exclaimed.

“They’re merely dreadful,” his Weariness, who had been to the railway-station to welcome the Royal travellers, murmured in a voice extinct with boredom.

“They’re in European dress, dear?” his mother questioned.

“The King had on a frock coat and a cap…”

“And she?”

“A tartan skirt, and checked wool stockings.”

“She has great individuality, so I hear, marm,” the Countess ventured.

“Individuality be________! No one can doubt she’s a terrible woman.”

The Queen gently groaned.

“I see life to-day,” she declared, “in the colour of mould.”

The Prince protruded a shade the purple violet of his tongue.

“Well, it’s depressing,” he said, “for us all, with the Castle full of blacks.”

“That is the least of my worries,” the Queen observed. “Oh Yousef, Yousef,” she added, do you wish to break my heart?”

The young man protruded some few degrees further his tongue.

“I gather you’re alluding to Laura!” he remarked.

“But what can you see in her?” his mother mourned.

“She suits my feelings,” the Prince simply said.


“She meets my needs.”

“She’s so housemaid…I hardly know…!”

The Queen raised beautiful hands, bewildered.

“Très gutter, ma’am,” the Countess murmured, dropping her voice to a half-whisper.

“She saves us from cliché,” the Prince indignantly said.

“She saves us from nothing,” his mother returned. “Oh, Yousef, Yousef. And what cerné eyes, my son. I suppose you were gambling all night at the Château des Fleurs?”

“Just hark to the crowds!” the Prince evasively said. And never too weary to receive an ovation, he skipped across the room towards the nearest window, where he began blowing kisses to the throng.

“Give them the Smile Extending, darling,” his mother beseeched.

3 Responses to "It’s getting heated"

My reading talents are wasted over long term contests. We bookworms are natural sprinters!

Truth be told I am the same. Some months I’ll get through 6 books in four weeks, others just one.

But you’d have to say that, what with the short, stubby legs and all. Ha!

Hey, at least I don’t have pointy ears! 😉

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