Friday, April 6, 2012

The Ministry Of Fear (Foretold)

     Arthur Rowe stepped joyfully back into adolescence, into childhood.  There had always been a fête about this time of year in the vicarage garden, a little way off the Trumpington Road, with the flat Cambridgeshire field beyond the extemporized bandstand, and at the end of the fields the pollarded willows by the stickleback stream and the chalk-pit on the slopes in what in Cambridgeshire they call a hill. He came to these fêtes every year with an odd feeling of excitement – as if anything might happen, as if the familiar pattern of life that afternoon might be altered forever.

  ‘Come and try your luck, sir?’ said the clergyman in a voice which was obviously a baritone at socials.

      'If I could have some coppers.’

     ‘Thirteen for a shilling, sir.’

   Under a little awning there was a cake on a stand surrounded by a small group of enthusiastic sightseers.  A lady was explaining, ‘We clubbed our butter rations – and Mr Tatham was able to get hold of the currants.’

     She turned to Arthur Rowe and said ‘Won’t you take a ticket and guess its weight?’

     He lifted it and said at random ‘Three pounds, five ounces.’

  ‘A very good guess, I should say.   Your wife must have been teaching you.’

  He winced away from the group. ‘Oh no, I’m not married.’


  1. Such beautiful writing. Limpid. You're drawn in immediately.

  2. It's a wonderful book. If you've never read it, I highly recommend it. It's one of the ones Greene sort of weirdly called his "Entertainments." It was the subject of Fritz Lang's first US-made movie. Although I like the film a lot, it's not a patch on the book. Basically (and this is sort of odd, but explains why I refer back to it a lot), the central character in the novel reminds me of myself. Curtis