Thursday, April 12, 2018

On the Cultivation of Mushrooms

Leonora Carrington:
I had received a royal summons to pay a call on the sovereigns of my country.

The invitation was made of lace, framing embossed letters of gold. There were also roses and swallows.

I went to fetch my car, but my chauffeur, who has no practical sense at all, had just buried it.

"I did it to grow mushrooms," he told me. "There's no better way of growing mushrooms."

"Brady," I said to him, "you're a complete idiot. You have ruined my car."
From "The Royal Summons," in The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington (Dorothy Project, 2017). Carrington, a British-born painter as well as the author of mischievous tales, was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist and actually was presented (though very much against her will) at the court of England's George V. She left the country at the first opportunity and spent most of her very long life in Mexico.


Michael Leddy said...

This excerpt makes me think that I have to get this book.

Chris said...

I still haven't finished it, because I'm just dipping into it now and then while I finish something else, but the best of the tales are quite good. Her obvious influence is Lewis Carroll (and the Irish fairy stories she was told as a child), but she's much darker. One of the stories ("White Rabbits") is quite famous in Latin America, having been included by Julio Cortázar in an anthology of modern short stories. She wrote in three languages (English, French, and Spanish).

Tororo said...

I just ordered this book! There's no French-language counterpart to it: some Carrington's short stories are available in French, but dispersed through various printing houses. Perhaps later will I write a post about this one, as I did with The Milk of Dreams.

Chris said...

I will have to read your post about The Milk of Dreams, Roland. The publisher of the edition of the stories that I'm reading isn't very specific about which of the tales were written in which language. I'm guessing that "Pigeon Fly" was written in French, since the corresponding Pigeon Vole is the name of a French game. I haven't gotten to the later stories yet, but I don't think she knew much Spanish until she had lived in Mexico for some time.