Friday, September 29, 2017

Notes from the House Spirits by Lucy Wood Analysis



The short story "Notes from the House Spirits" by Lucy Wood was written in a unique style. While I was reading I had a feeling that the words were flying around. This effect was achieved by using simple sentences, repetition, describing the very recognizable things like dust or sound like the creak of floors.

The storyteller here is the House Spirits, the narrator uses the pronoun "we" (in plural). The narration stretched in time for the period of the time of exiting the house. The reader sees how time is going by, tenants replace each other, the House Spirits adopted to them, estimated and express own opinion about them.

Let's see how the state of silence was described in the story:
"Dust drifts across the room and settles on skirting and curtain rails. We can see it, every single piece, as it piles up and no one brushes it away. Dust is static and lazy; it lands on the first thing it sees. It fills the house bit by bit and no one brushes it away. It is not our job to brush it away." Reading these lines I felt such as my thoughts were described in this paragraph. There are some moments probably in everyone’s life when things which we didn't notice in usual circumstances became very tangible and real. Lucy Wood was able to describe it and make it recognizable.

The Notes includes a number of memories about dwellers of this house. The lonely woman was the first. She left the house suddenly leaving off her belongings. My impression was that the House Spirits described it without emotions: "It is rude to leave suddenly, without any notice. She didn't give us any notice. There weren't any boxes. She didn't take any of her things away. Didn't she like it here? She left all her things behind. What does she expect us to do with it all? There is nothing that we can do with it, except count it, except look carefully through it, and we have done that already."

The author used a good method to summarize each part of the story - putting the paragraph with its own title:
"Things we miss about the one who left suddenly in the night:
Her laugh, which was as loud and sudden as the gas flame igniting in the boiler. ... The way she jumped when the doorbell rang."

More and more new people came and left the house, the emptiness, the details - all these things were described consecutively and thoroughly: "Now we notice what we didn't notice before: that the paint is actually a strange blue, a cold blue, a blue that wasn't the right decision. We don't want that blue anymore." The narrator estimated people, things, animals: "There is a spider's web behind a door handle and one under a light switch. We like spiders; they are quiet and make good use of the space."

The Spirits gave them-self a modest role in explaining their attitude to everything: "we think the voice is familiar – we are not good with voices" or "We think they are the same people but we are not sure. We are not good with faces"

Many characters go through the story and drift away. The time of being in the house was described by a few glimpses, very shortly. This way of writing highlighted the fact of temporal quality of everything, readers can see how time is going by scene by scene, as slides in the presentation change one after each other without any of our participation. People experience the same during pivotal moments of their lives or on the deathbed when reminiscences from childhood, youth, and adulthood are passing in memory for a few minutes.

The separated plotline of the story is growing of the buddleia. This is a quote about this plant from BBC: "More people are buying buddleia for their gardens, but it's classified as an invasive species and is a problem on British railways. It's hard to walk by a railway line in Britain and not see buddleia." I admit that it is a way to represent the flow of time: it never stops.

Lucy Wood was so verisimilar in her story that readers would believe in existence of the spirits, these wonderful creatures who it seemed are interested in all our deals. I noticed this treat in my cat. His name is Lastic and he always comes to the room where something happens: a gathering of family members and so on. We often discuss what could be his thoughts about us, the version of "Notes" from Lucy Wooden could be appropriate.
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Lucy Wood is a very young writer, she was born in 1990. There is no Wikipedia page about her, no youtube channel, it seems that she does not care about promoting her works. But she was noticed by The Guardian and she received the​ very positive replies about her literary style. I expect that the Google engine machine will guide the future readers, who will start reading her story, for this analysis and I will take a part of in the distribution of this talented author - Lucy Wood.



Notes from the House Spirits by Lucy Wood
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