Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Question of the Day

Not only is it my parents’ anniversary, it’s also Bloomsday, meant to celebrate the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. Avid Joyce fans in Dublin and elsewhere relive the day on which the book takes place — June 16, 1904 — by visiting the haunts of Leopold Bloom and reading passages.

What setting of a novel would you like to visit and perhaps relive some of the events in it?

That’s easy: The Lake District and the Norfolk Broads in England that are the settings for the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome. As a matter of fact, I did on my first trip to England in 1971. The “Lake” in the books is an amalgam of Lake Windermere and Conniston Water, but the books set in East Anglia depict real places and Ransome was very true to the local geography. I was delighted to find that Horning, the small town that is the main setting for two books — Coot Club and The Big Six — is exactly like it was described, right down to the little hotel on the edge of the River Bure.

I was a little disappointed when I arrived at Windermere to find that it wasn’t exactly as it was described in the book, but it was close enough, and I wish I had had the money and the time to rent a little sailboat like the ones in the books, which closely resemble the Beetle Cat boats popular on Cape Cod. Next time, I will.