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READ PDF ⛓ I Capture the Castle Þ Through Six Turbulent Months Of , Year Old Cassandra Mortmain Keeps A Journal, Filling Three Notebooks With Sharply Funny Yet Poignant Entries About Her Home, A Ruined Suffolk Castle, And Her Eccentric And Penniless Family By The Time The Last Diary Shuts, There Have Been Great Changes In The Mortmain Household, Not The Least Of Which Is That Cassandra Is Deeply, Hopelessly, In Love Dodie Smith s I Capture the Castle is a charming and surprising read I was enchanted by the first paragraph, but never did I imagine that it would be the sort of book that left me speechless at the end in awe and contemplative and wanting to read but knowing that anything else I picked up just wouldn t feel right.The narrator, who is consciously attempting to capture in her journal her family s eccentric and impoverished life in their unfurnished, deteriorating castle home, is simply enchanting The book is very much about writing the seventeen year old protagonist Cassandra aspires to be a writer and her strange father rose to fame through the art and Smith weaves a tale full of wit and charm As I read, I was struck by the tension between my desire to read quickly to watch the story unfold and my desire to savor each delightful description and thoughtful reflection.The novel took me completely by surprise when it shifted tone near its middle I realize now that the early parts of the novel were the records of a carefree and intelligent child and that, in the later parts, the child must begin to grow up I, as a reader, felt the burden of her maturing outlook It felt like a nineteenth century Romance was smacked upside the head with Modernist Realism And I think Smith was going for that She warned me partway through I didn t want to listen The early parts of the book were sprinkled with allusions to Austen and the Bronte sisters while the latter half was preoccupied with Cassandra s father s clearly Modernist work There was rural country in the beginning and city life at the end Even a shift in discussion of art, from Topaz s paintings and lute to Stephen s photographs and films So I guess it had to have a realistic end Though Austen wouldn t have ended the book the way I d have liked it to end anyway Robert Martin may be suitable for Harriet Smith, but even the best of his class wouldn t have been acceptable for Emma And perhaps even Emma could not have been taught to deserve one such as he.I still can t sum up this book Except that I think that I loved it.Quotes Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it or rather, it is like living it My imagination longs to dash ahead and plan developments but I have noticed that when things happen in one s imaginings, they never happen in one s life, so I am curbing myself Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression I know all about the facts of life And I don t think much of them The originators among writers perhaps, in a sense, the only true creators dip deep and bring up one perfect work complete, not a link in a chain It was like the difference between the beautiful old Godsend graves and the new ones open to receive coffins that time takes the ugliness and horror out of death and turns it into beauty On Religion I think it is an art, the greatest one and extension of the communion all the other arts attempt On the word God It s merely shorthand for where we come from, where we re going, and what it s all about Sacrifice is the secret you have to sacrifice things for art and it s the same with religions and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it s a lovely rest. What a generous caretaker of a novel.If I say that this novel didn t require me to do any work, it sounds like a vague insult, as if I m saying that the story or the characters were slight, and that s not at all what I mean I mean that the novel, both through format a very self aware narrator s journal and authorial intent with a firm eye on the sort of story telling pedigree that brought her there , anticipated my readerly needs and desires with such swiftness that I felt agreeably anticipatory and satisfied at all times I did not have to tell myself to be patient to wait for one plot line to play out, because the book helpfully plied me with a pleasant drink while I waited I did not feel done after it had given me a good meal, because right before the last course, it promised dessert The summary is accurate and pointless It is about Cassandra writing about herself in a journal Their family is penniless They do live in a castle She is, as it promises, deeply, hopelessly in love But not with any of the men in the book They re all intriguing in their own way, don t get me wrong, and she does love many of them, in many different ways The novel takes place in one of my favorite intellectual time periods to read and study, and this book plays across all of its nuances artists models and intellectuals, servants quarters and vicars, romanticism and mysticism, the religion of church and the religion of a well turned out drawing room But all of that is sort of beyond the point The point is that Cassandra is deeply, hopelessly in love with life, and her utter, wry engagement with the castle she adores is what pulled me through the pages Her voice is kind and self deprecating, generous and wondering The humans she observes Topaz, her often nude step mother Rose, her selfish and hungry sister Mortmain, her once famous father are all seen through this well meaning gaze, and even terrible events are colored with love even when I thought characters could do with a polite punch in the mouth.This book took very good care of me It goes onto my comfortable re read shelf immediately. My name is Cassandra Mortmain, I know it sounds made up but it s true I m 17 and bright as a button and never been kissed because it s the 1930s My family are effortlessly bohemian, we all live in a crumbling castle oh yes, quite literally and we have no money at all and we have only barely heard of the twentieth century How poor we are since father stopped earning any money He used to be a genius but now he does crosswords We eat the occasional potato and scrape plaster off the walls for pudding We have thought of cooking one of our dogs but that would not do Also, something you should be aware of, although you will find out pretty soon I believe, is that I suffer from acute logorrhoea, which is a debilitating condition that impels its victim to write a never ending journal into which is debouched every last possible banal but extremely charming detail of one s life and that of one s immediate family, which is, the pulchritudinous Rose, my 21 year old sister, my doughty schoolboy brother, my poor damaged papa who wrote one brilliant book once but has since sunk into a kind of bewilderment, and his nude model youngish wife, the unusual lute playing nature communing Topaz whom we love immoderately in spite of her frank farfetchedness, along with various cats and dogs with classically derived names and a servant boy called Stephen who gauchely is in love with my 17 year old preciousness and whom we do not pay but who contrives to be preternaturally handsome and work for us for free Anyone might think I have made all this up out of my own coquettish head We may live in a literal castle but we haven t got the price of a loaf of bread It s enough to make a cat laugh Our situation is so wry that fairly broad comedy oozes from its very pores Rose said only last night that she was quite up to walking the streets to earn a crust if she thought it would do any good, but the quaint rural byways of the Suffolk countryside don t possess the required type of street So here I am, as usual, sitting on something odd, it could be a turret, or a tuffet or a large mammal, carefully noting down in my journal everything I hear and see along with the weather at the time and the precise location of the several animals we own, what I am wearing and what my immediate family are wearing, with various passing references to the utter beauty of the crumbling literal castle that we all inhabit over which the moon sheds its downy light and lambent whatnots.Four months later Something has actually happened Yes, new owners of the mansion have taken possession new neighbours And it s just like a fairytale, for they are none other than two handsome American bachelors, with whom I and my sister will fall in love, and they with ourselves, naturellement But not before many pages of microscopic examination of every trifling occurrence so that a single evening in their company will take 30 pages for me to detail and the sisterly debate about it another ten And certainly not before much gentle yet sharply observed observations on the romantic yearnings of two beautiful yet penniless girls who get the brothers the wrong way round at first Now, let me explain how I first met the American brothers I was in the bath and I had been dying clothes that day, so my entire body was coloured a violent sea green, and they wandered into the crumbling castle thinking no one could possibly live there Imagine the scene They took me for some kind of turtle. This is going to be the shortest review I ve written on this site in a while The reason I m going to keep it short is because no description could possibly do justice to this quintessentially English coming of age story which ranks among the most pleasant surprises I ve had, book wise A summary would make it sound slight, trite and predictable, all of which it is, and would not reflect the fact that it s also funny as hell, charismatic, deliciously eccentric, Austenesque and so utterly charming that I quite literally had sore cheeks after reading it because I couldn t stop smiling at the delightful nonsense the incomparable Cassandra Mortmain spilled out on the pages I m not exaggerating here this book will charm the pants off you, especially if you happen to have two X chromosomes and a bad case of Anglophilia It s what would happen if an early twentieth century Jane Austen were to grow up in a dilapidated castle and get into financial trouble, and that s all I m going say about it, except that I want to be Cassandra Mortmain when I grow down Only I think I ll write my book on a computer rather than sitting in the kitchen sink, because it would be so much comfortable, thank you very much.