Oh, only Oh

There is a quality to Aloisi’s fiction that is not found elsewhere. There is carefree-ness. There is confidence; unbridled, uninhibited, unrestrained confidence. It seeps through every sentence – and I love it.

So wrote Lucien Ropes of Fernando Aloisi’s On, Xavier! (read the rest of his high-spirited review here). I rarely agree with Ropes taste-wise, but he has certainly tripped upon a twig of truth here. Aloisi’s prose does something that so few writers are capable of. It soars like an eagle, dives like a guillemot and swims like an eel. It moves like a river of molten gold. One is reminded of the British painter Burne-Jones, who once expressed his artistic ambitions thus:

I want big things to do and vast spaces, and for the common people to see them and say Oh! – only Oh!

Well, indeed. What more can one say?

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