Saturday, December 5, 2009

Re-reading Ebenezer

Have begun re-reading The Book of Ebenezer Le Page by G. B. Edwards. This remains the best book ever written about Guernsey.

The book was published posthumously. Edwards' literary executor, Edward Chaney succeeded where Edwards had failed in finding a publisher. If, when Edwards sent it out, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page was given more than a second glance, it would have seemed hard to categorise: and publishers love their categories. The plot of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page meanders with the haphazardness of real life. An apparent lack of artifice which we can now see enhances the vivid reality of the characters.

It is also interesting to me that Edwards was in self imposed exile from the island for most of his life. He lived in London for many years and, after his retirement, lived in Weymouth instead of returning to Guernsey. There was some sort of family feud, and he had been disinherited. Weymouth was the port where the old mailboats Sarnia and Cesarea used to leave for the islands. So he was almost in touch.