When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did, instead of reading the news on my phone and setting myself up for a day of deep politically engaged depression, was to pick up my copy of Elizabeth Von Arnim’s beautiful novel The Enchanted April. I lay in bed and read and read, in warmth of Von Arnim’s exquisite prose, and I felt happy, truly happy.
Elizabeth Von Arnim’s story speaks of leaving behind duty, misery and rainy weather in London, England in the early 1920s, to spend a month in ‘paradise’ at a castello on the Mediterrranean in Portofino, Italy.
I adore the surreal dissection of her prose, the way she unwraps human existence down to the mundane and makes it precious and flowery.
After twenty pages of The Enchanted April I felt calm and ready to face the day. So perhaps that’s it! Medical prescription: 20 pages of a beautiful novel every morning, before rising, prescribed to every soul on the planet, for serenity, for happiness, for that feel-good factor. It’s a free way to calm and soothe the mind, a gorgeous way to prepare for the day, and as the day wore on, with it now being 3.15 in the afternoon, I am still entranced and in the story of The Enchanted April in my mind, the effects last, like jogging or fasting or climbing a mountain with stunning views. I can’t wait to carry on reading tonight, and will promise myself that tomorrow morning, on rising I will read more as a way of keeping the good feeling going.
Two days ago, I was having a soap box moment. Now I say enough! Let there be more books, more Elizabeth Von Arnim’s, more enchanted Aprils.
So, here we are in April, and the snow is melting and the sun is shining and I am mentally planning my own enchanted April in some castello somewhere in Europe.