Tuesday, January 29, 2008


My favorite mystery novelist is PD James. Unfortunately, I like her so much that I've already read all her books, which leaves no new ones. Argh!
So in a fit of nostalgia, I have been rereading a few. It's funny, I didn't notice during the first reads, but she kind of has her own pet words that she trots out in every novel. Words that are strange, and seem out-of-place. Perhaps they're Britishisms, I don't know.
I keep repeating them in my head, and making a little check mark when I come across them, yet again, in her book.
Perhaps they're a puzzle: she drops them in at various points, like talismans, so that the reader hears these words and thinks, Ah, yes. This is indeed PD James.
Here are the words:
Moue. a pouting grimace. Usually she says "A moue of distaste". Which is a lot of expressions for one mouth.
Rictus. the gape of the mouth of a bird. Usually she says "The rictus of despair." SO Jamsian.
Minatory: menacing; threatening.
These words are just odd. And they're practically in every book. Is it a nervous tic? Intentional? Playful?
SOmehow it makes me feel affectionate towards her, like catching someone picking their nose. It's kind of endearing.

1 comment:

Anna said...

So I found out about my favorite parenting magazine (Brain, Child) from my favorite parenting blog (Ask Moxie). There I found an articulate and thoughtful article about EC--and the danger of enthusiastic adherence to a parenting “philosophy” turning into something strident and alienating and guilt inducing. And by the wife of one of my favorite friends in high school! (Really, how many Dyami Calires can there be?)

I was totally delighted to discover that you are as articulate and thoughtful in your blog on faith and feminism and family. And that you share my love for P.D. James’s overuse of moue, rereading British mysteries, Possession, Anne Lamott, Jane Austen and certain cheesy teen movies based on her books, natural parenting (for lack of a better term), cooking, AND Gilead. Honestly, I didn’t know it was possible.

Please give Dyami my love. Tell him that we have a baby girl too and that I think his wife sounds amazing…

Publish this or not, but please e-mail--I want to hear more about Lucy.

Anna (acharris1@gmail.com)