Six Facets of Light by Ann Wroe. This one is so beautiful, I’ve slowed down so I don’t finish it too quickly. It’s hard to categorise – I suppose it’s part reflection on the ways in which artists and writers have used and thought about light in their work, and part collective biography of those artists and writers, interwoven with personal reminiscences. So the material is fascinating, and Wroe’s language is so crystalline, it shimmers occasionally into poetry.
As I grew up on the Sussex coast, which is the area Wroe mostly writes about, this book keeps giving me little shocks of recognition and a powerful longing to go home again. It’s sent me down countless rabbit holes, too – how do I know next to nothing about Eric Ravilious? And nothing at all about Samuel Palmer? This is the best type of book: one that sends you to countless others (there’s plenty of to choose from in the Notes at the back).
It isn’t often I wish I’d written the exact book I’m reading: this is one of those times. (Plus, the author writes obituaries for The Economist as her day job! What a fabulous way to pay the bills!)