- Helen Dunmore - Orange Prize winner - Novels - Zennor in Darkness - Extract
Helen Dunmore
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Zennor in Darkness / Extract
 
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(Clare Coyne has met D H Lawrence for the first time on the cliff path. They talk about the drawings in her sketch-book.)


 She feels a devil in her, to teach him something when he thinks he has everything to teach her. ‘I could draw you,’ she says.
He laughs, turning to her with delight, his eyes narrowing. His blunt stubby face is nothing special but for those eyes. Can she really draw them?
‘I can, if you want me to.’
‘I do.’
‘Then move back a little. Like that. No - stop, that’s enough. Now if you look down there, at that thorn-bush, and then keep your head just as it is. Good.’

He sits perfectly still while she takes her second, smaller sketchbook out of her bag, and an HB pencil.
‘Shan’t you need a rubber?’ he teases. ‘I hear all the girls at the Slade have bits of bread to rub out their mistakes.’
‘Do you know any girls at the Slade?’
“I do, some of ‘em.’
‘Do you? What are they like?’
‘Oh, you’ve got a long way to go if you want to be a Slade girl. You’ll have to get your head bobbed and get rid of your Christian name. The girls call each other by their surnames there. And they live in diggings - should you like that?’
‘Mmm.’
She’s not really listening. She’d like to know all about it, but not now.
‘It’s all right,’ she mumbles. ‘Go on talking. It’s better to draw you when you’re talking.’
He falls silent.

She wants to get the whole pose. The line of face and neck flow so naturally into the body. Light, thin limbs in green corduroy trousers. Head very upright and alert, a bit bird-like. But she mustn’t overdo it and turn the drawing into a caricature.

The corduroy is worn and soft, so that it shows the shapes of the limbs. The face has no good bones in it, and the hair grows oddly, flat and springy at once. You could so easily make the face common, even mongrelish. Yet it is so quick and alive. Even mischievous. In spite of all its faults of colouring and structure, it’s attractive.


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The Lie
The Greatcoat
The Betrayal
Counting the Stars
House of Orphans
Mourning Ruby
The Siege
With Your Crooked Heart
Your Blue-Eyed Boy
Talking to the Dead
A Spell of Winter
Burning Bright
Zennor in Darkness
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