Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April's Almost Over!

"April is the cruellest month." T. S. Eliot begins his epic poem "The Waste Land" with those words and if you know nothing else of Eliot, you have probably heard those lines. For me, April really is the worst month of the year. It begins with April Fool's Day, continues with tax day, and in general, it's kind of a meh month. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is a month filled with more rain than sunshine and the temperatures can range from mid-40s to a raw high 20s at night. By April 30th, I am weary of winter. When I woke up to yet another dreary day today, I found myself wondering if anything exceptional had ever happened on April 30th. 

Few dates end up being memorable because something good happened that day. (The only exception that readily comes to mind is July 20, 1969, the date of the first moon landing.) But if you check out sites like The People History (sic.), you can find out that almost any day offers a catalogue of catastrophe. For instance, on various April ths, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, the first oil from the Deepwater Horizon hit the shore, Iran nationalized their oil fields, Nixon's cronies resigned in the wake of Watergate, tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan, there was a nail bomb attack in London, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, and 100 people died after a ferry sank in India. Aieeeee.

And if you look for books that have "April" in the title, the first one that comes up is April Morning by Howard Fast, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of a Revolutionary War battle.
Even when I read this book as a kid, I knew someone I cared about was going to die. And sure enough...

But then there's The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. It's literary women's fiction, a genre I don't read all that often, but probably should. It's a wonderful character study of four women whose lives are changed by a vacation in an Italian castle. I skipped the movie when it came out because I thought it was going to be another gorgeous but ponderous Merchant/Ivory production, but now that I've read the book, I'll have to hunt it down on Netflix. And next April,  I may have to take a vacation in Italy myself.

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