You may think it slipshod and discursive. It will appear to drag in all sorts of subjects just to make up the requisite length.
I am not quite sure why I am such a fan of Ford Mad Ford. Having written at the turn of the 20th Century, it’s not as if his subject matter is particularly apropos after one hundred years. But, I first read The Good Soldier during my freshman year of college, and perhaps that has made the difference.
The quote above almost perfectly captures the feel of It Was the Nightingale. This memoir of Ford’s time in France in the early 1920s seems to meander along. The reader is constantly taken back to early points in Ford’s history and then, several pages later, brought back to the point with near-forceful disconnect. Ford calls this literary device “the time-shift,” and he uses it to great effect. In fact, he considers himself a master… time-shifter?
If you are a fan of Ford, this is obviously something you need to read. If you are a fan of Ford’s contemporaries (Pound, Conrad, Picasso, etc.), It Was the Nightingale provides an interestingly look behind the scenes of what Gertrude Stein called “The Lost Generation.”