The ghost of novelists past

Mrs Mander (my wife, Jaspreet Mander, keeping her own name instead of taking mine, adhering to Indian traditions instead of British) went with me last night to The Leeds Library to a reading of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Gerald Dickens, great-great grandson of the author.

‘Not so much a performance,’ she said in the interval, ‘as a phenomenon!’

If his great-great grandfather had been there, as the Ghost of Novelists Past, he would have been very satisfied with what he saw and heard. All the drama, the multitude of characters, the humour, the pathos, everything was just as it should be and as one imagines it must have been when the novelist himself performed it on his many reading tours, here and in the USA.

‘A Christmas Carol’ is still touring here. Catch it if you can.

We were enchanted by The Leeds Library too, an 18th century library in the heart of the city, a maze of shelves three storeys high in pristine condition, filled with books old and new. We needed no persuading (though the lady sitting next to us was persuasiveness itself) that the price of membership would be well worth the freedom to drop in whenever we liked and pass the time of day (or yesterday) with the ghosts of librarians past, present and to come.

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