sensible Eunice pipes up

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

this isn't the edition that I read, but I like this cover!
Since it was a full moon tonight (not that I can tell here in cloudy Portland, but I trust it's full above the clouds), here's a moon quote from Kate Atkinson's Human Croquet (which was so good in the way her books are good):  

On the way home, even Eunice is silenced by the sight that greets just as we turn into Hawthorn Close, for suddenly, without any preamble, the moon rises from behind the roof of Audrey's house. 
Not any old moon, not the usual moon, but an enormous white disc like a big Pan Drop, a cartoon moon almost, its lunar geography - seas and mountains- a luminescent grey, its chaste rays illuminating the streets of trees with a much kinder light than the streetlamps. We’re stopped in our tracks, half enchanted, half horrified by this magic moonrise.

What’s happened to the moon? Has its orbit moved closer to the earth overnight? I can feel the moon’s gravity pulling the tide of my blood. This must be a miracle of some kind, surely - a change in the very laws of physics? I’m relieved that someone else is sharing the lunacy with me - I can feel Audrey clinging onto my arm so hard that she’s pinching my skin through the fabric of my coat.

A moment longer and we will be running for the woods, bows and arrows in our hands, hounds at our heels, converts to Diana, but then the sensible Eunice pipes up, ‘We’re only experiencing the moon illusion - it’s an illustration of the way the brain is capable of misinterpreting the phenomenal world.’

'The moon illusion,' she repeats patiently. 'It's because you've got all these points of reference - ' she waves her arms around like a mad scientist, 'aerials, chimney pots, rooftops, trees - they give us the wrong ideas of size and proportion. Look,' she says and turns round and suddenly bends over like a rag doll, 'look at it between your legs.'
'See!' Eunice says triumphantly when we finally obey her ridiculous command. 'It doesn't look big any more, does it?'
No, we agree sadly, it doesn't.  

from p. 49
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