Which of course reminds us all of other stories which have been told. In paintings, like “The Death of the Virgin”, which was exhibited at Gemäldegalerie at Potsdamer Platz before it was moved to another museum, which resembled another painting which belonged to a Louis, a painting in which figures gathered around a corpse to whisper stories of what had come before. In operas, like “Tosca”, where a painter shapes a Mary based on a young local woman, where rumours about illicit relationships abound, and trick-weapons draw real blood.
Songs for the Cold of Heart is a complicated yarn that you needn’t untangle: simply have someone pour you another gin. Ah, but if you do tug on a string, the rhythmic unravelling is so very satisfying.
There are many Madeleines and many Louis, maybe one for every reader. Or maybe not. But certainly more than expected. More than you can see at first glance.
And when they are tipsy, some slip into hyperbole, but others fall into truth-telling. Under the influence, these characters might utter something ridiculous, or something profound.
“But every recess, every trip down the building’s hallways, every moment spent standing in line in the schoolyard brought with it the possibility that she might learn a little more about the Lamontagnes.”