The Joy of Small Things by Hannah Jane Parkinson review – a compendium of delights

1 year ago 233

In 2018, erstwhile things seemed bleak, some successful her idiosyncratic beingness and successful the satellite astatine large, the writer Hannah Jane Parkinson started penning a file for the Guardian connected tiny things that gave her joy. The idea, she freely admits, was nabbed from JB Priestley, who wrote a publication immoderate 70 years earlier called Delight. “If this grouchy Yorkshireman could instrumentality the clip to beryllium down and papers his mundane exultations,” she reasoned, “then I, idiosyncratic whose default is simply a benignant of droll cynicism, could bash the same.”

After 3 years of celebrating dogs successful parks and nighttime buses, determination accents and the subtle pleasance of closing browser tabs – a play that spanned the onset of a pandemic, erstwhile adjacent tiny pleasures were successful abbreviated proviso – the file came to an extremity successful September. Now Parkinson has turned it into a book, gathering unneurotic much than 100 entries, each 1 abbreviated and snappy arsenic befits the theme.

It could truthful easy go cloying implicit 250 pages, but Parkinson deploys her droll cynicism to bully effect. Where determination is positivity, mordant wit and pathos are ne'er acold down (we larn of the author’s struggles with intelligence illness, which adds an other magnitude to the exercise).

It helps, too, that Parkinson is bully astatine articulating small details that we brushwood connected a regular ground but seldom enactment into words. In the operation “under the weather”, she finds the proposition that “when we are well, we soar supra the clouds”. That infinitesimal of disorientation that tin hap instantly aft waking strikes her arsenic “a benignant of GPS nonaccomplishment successful the liminal abstraction betwixt the unconscious and conscious states”.

To work the publication from screen to screen is possibly to acquisition a surplus of joy. For astir people, the pleasance volition prevarication successful dipping successful astatine random, though it’s a recognition to Parkinson’s writing, which is open-hearted and deceptively light, that you extremity up consuming it successful considerably larger chunks than you mightiness astatine archetypal anticipate.