The homecoming does capture some of the ruminating calm that comes with returning to a town you've spent most of your life in where you may be welcomed and "The air has its own smell about it" isn't that far from the truth. You tend to discriminate it more. The book doesn't really suffer from a lack of a sense of urgency because it is in no way that sort of book. A sort of book in which the characters need extensive biographies because the subtle narrative threads are key. We don't learn enough about Asa I don't think, that's the only thing that bothers me. Certainly the most interesting character but is completely divorced from the daliance in the lake district or anyting that happened past Temple Meads outside of one letter.
A more casual melodrama. A melodrama either has to be casual or about a Russian aristocrat who never gets out of bed for me to engage with it successfully.
This book was pretty good. It captured my interest because apparently the character of Asa is supposed to be derived from an author's portrait of the poet Jon Silkin, and I like his poems. That aspect was a bit of a letdown, we don't get substantial insight into the artistic processes of the man through this emblem. In the beginning and near the end, where we spend the most time with that character, he just seems to be portrayed as a dishevelled painter who is struggling in his innovations and has a certain rustic charm about him. It's a more general hunger artist portrait, maybe a little more despairing. Shouldn't let poets fool you, but the rich imagery of his poems isn't so present in the descriptors of Asa's pictures. In the end it's extensively described as a fragmentary, Pissaro-esque (I guess) style in which the only vivid depictions are acute architectural features like chimneys or posts as if to suggest the focus converges around them. That seemed really odd. The architectures of Silkin's poems are often not very narrative and are instead very visual and do adhere to these kind of flight-of-fancy fragments which are enjoyable as the reader's imagination, but I'm not sure whether this particular connection is cohesive.