This is a sad note to re-start my blogging with, but I think it's an important one. The tremendously talented Barry Unsworth has passed away, at the august age of 81. The Washington Post has a nice obituary for him here, though I warn you that about half way through the article reveals plot points that don't come up at least fifty percent into his Booker-prize-winning novel, Sacred Hunger.
Coincidentally (obviously, I suppose, since it's not like I knew he was going to die), I'm reading Sacred Hunger right now. It is, thus far, a moving novel that shoves your face in the gross inhumanity of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Given the role of that trade in our history, and the commonalities of spirit between that age and ours, I think it's a necessary lesson. I hope the second half of the book is as gripping as the first.