Way Back Wednesday is a Book Meme created by A Well Read Woman with the aim to write mini book reviews on books read in the past, that left a lasting impression.
When I think about books that left a lasting impression on me, I can’t help but remember Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. I have vivid memories of my grandmother reading to me from The Elephant’s Child, How the Camel Got Its Hump and How the Rhinoceros Got its Skin. My grandmother was a radio actress. (She played the role of Lenore Case in “The Green Hornet” and also acted in “The Lone Ranger”) I remember being delighted by the fanciful stories, the image of an elephant’s nose being stretched into the trunk it has today. But what I recall more than anything was the language. I can still hear my grandmother’s voice repeating the words “the great grey-green greasy Limpopo River all set about with fever trees.”
(The Limpopo is a real river, and fever trees are a real thing. You can click the image at the top of this article to read more about that if you wish.)
It was the first example that I recall of a certain kind of writing full of language that is evocative and experienced viscerally, more for its music than its meaning.