The Unicorn

The Unicorn by Irish Murdoch (published by Avon, 1963)  

Introduced by Anne Brichto, Addyman Books, Hay-on-Wye 

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I’ve been in Hay-on-Wye for over 30 years but am still being consistently charmed by my surroundings and the community spirit.

On Friday afternoon I took the Offa’s Dyke path up to Hay Bluff and managed to pick this bunch of wild flowers, grasses, seed heads and pine fronds for free.

Yesterday I walked into the best Londis in the world and found fresh croissants and a baguette made from left over dough at the local bakery.

Last week Roger Wells brought in two jars of Berry Jam made from red currants and black currants grown just across the River Wye. The redcurrant jam was sweet and fresh and the blackcurrant (shown here) is sublime. It is just the right mixture of tart and sweetness and makes your tastebuds ping.

Yesterday another bookseller brought me in a bunch of local grapes, small and dark and sweet with that lovely bloom still on them.

So I had all the ingredients for my Bookseller’s Breakfast but no theme.

I looked in exasperation at the four unsteady piles of books on the kitchen table which never seem to shrink and get more precarious by the day.

I ruthlessly went through them and picked three that matched the colours. So much for reducing my piles.

I’ve decided to keep The Writer’s Quotation Book as it has some charming woodcuts and useful phrases.

And how can you not fall in love with those curved edges of this New York Avon paperback edition of The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch? The book is two years younger than me and I feel it has a kindred spirit as my parents emigrated from New York a year before I was born.

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