In recent years the ‘Slow Food’ movement has worked hard to remind people of the simple pleasures of the kitchen: the leisurely putter of a stew on the hob rather than the frantic ping of a microwave; conversations around the table rather than attempts to juggle a burger and a mobile phone while walking down the street. Perhaps the time has come for a literary equivalent, Slow Books, aimed at readers who want to savour good writing and share it with friends. Few books would be better placed to spark such a movement than Peter Davidson’s intricate meditation on twilight in European art and literature. It is at once richly satisfying and as elusive as a ghost.
One of the main challenges that twilight poses to writers and artists is that it is not an event but a process. As the sun starts to sink below the horizon, the amount of light available changes minute by minute, and so do its effects on the landscape.