"It's really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They're right. I did some extremely foolish things; I'm the first to say it. And they've left me in jail and alone."
So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.
"See better, Lear," is Kent's charge to the great king in the first scene of Shakespeare's masterpiece. With three full weeks in the UK, the TG and I had a chance to "see better" some of our favorite places from past visits.
Is the Cotswolds the most beautiful place I've ever been? Yosemite has more grandeur. Big Sur and the coast of Croatia are more dramatic. The hills of Tuscany and the Italian lakes are certainly gorgeous. But the Cotswolds might be the most beautiful place I've ever been.
Basically, everywhere you look in this area of south central England is a postcard or a photo op. It's all Constable skies and Gainsborough landscapes. The Cotswolds combines rural perfection – rolling hills and hedge-trimmed meadows, historic towns and stately homes, medieval church towers and rippling streams – with a unique architectural purity and unity because most of the buildings are made of a beautiful honey-colored limestone called Cotswold stone. The colors of the buildings seem to change in the light, through shades of yellow and gold and amber. The villages, one after the other, have an enchanted, storybook look to them. The Cotswolds, which measures about twenty-five miles across and ninety miles long, is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by the UK government. That's putting it mildly.
Watch my award-winning short film Lunch With Louie
everyday THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ... Svetlana Alexievich ... the new New Yorker and the new New York Review of Books
Deezer! ...Howard Stern and Thom Hartmann always... lots of COSI, lots of KEITH JARRETT ... ... too much Pandora (but I made a new Children's Indiestation) ... and tons of Van the Man ... and Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris and Bill Evans!
MSNBC and Fox and CNN ... Rick Steves' Europe and SEINFELD(comfort watching) ... Turner Classic Movies... and the struggles of the Dodgers