Today was lovely with the sun shining but as it was too cold too sit outside I sat inside, with the sun basking through the window, enjoying Julian Barnes' book Flaubert's Parrot [Vintage, 2009].
A blue sky!
"Novelists should thank Flaubert the way poets thank spring; it all begins again with him. There really is a time before Flaubert and a time after him. Flaubert decisively established what most readers and writers think of as modern realist narration, and his influence is almost too familiar to be visible. We hardly remark of good prose that it favors the telling of brilliant detail; that it privileges a high degree of visual noticing; that it maintains an unsentimental composure and knows how to withdraw, like a good valet, from superfluous commentary; that it judges good and bad neutrally; that it seeks out the truth, even at the cost of repelling us; and that the author's fingerprints on all this are paradoxically, traceable but not visible.”
—Critic James Wood in How Fiction Works (2008)