Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 1, 2013

Sensational Snippets: The Pure Gold Baby (2013), by Margaret Drabble

The Pure Gold BabyThere are so many Sensational Snippets in Margaret Drabble’s latest novel, The Pure Gold Baby, that I could do a whole series of them, but this one resonates with me this morning!

Anna is the ‘pure gold baby’ of the title, ‘a child of special, unknowable qualities’.

As we grow older, our tenses and our sense of chronology blur.  We can no longer remember the correct sequence of events.  The river is flowing, but we don’t know on which bank we stand, or which way it flows.  From birth, or from death.  The water and the land merge.  We lose our sextant, we follow the wrong compass.  The trick of proleptic* memory, towards the end of life, confuses us.  The trope of déjà vu becomes indistinguishable from shock, sensation, revelation, epiphany, surprise.  It is hard to live in, or even to recall, an unforeseen moment.  Anna lived, and lives, in an eternal present, in the flowing river, but we live in a confused timeframe, where all seems fore-ordained, and fore-suffered, and yet all is unfinished and unknown.  Foresight and hindsight are one.  The lake and the land are one.

The Pure Gold Baby, by Margaret Drabble, Text Publishing, 2013 p. 63

* Proleptic =  The anachronistic representation of something as existing before its proper or historical time, as in the precolonial Australia.


Fishpond: The Pure Gold Baby


  1. I was sent this and will be reading it as it is partly connected to what I do supporting folk with learning disabilities ,all the best stu


  2. […] I’ll be moving them up the pile.  The Pure Gold Baby (as you could perhaps tell from the Sensational Snippet that I posted last week) is every bit as good as The Millstone and has reminded me what a great […]


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: