Review: Still Life with Teapot
Author: Brigid Lowry
By Kitty Turpin
Still Life with Teapot is described by Lowry as her very own “pillow book” (a type of private journal or diary), which is an accurate description of this chaotic mess of a novel – a mess that contains a beautiful tale of Lowry’s interesting and thoughtful outlook on life. It is a collection of essays and poetry that grants its audience an insight into the less-than-ordinary 60-something-year-old author, most famous for her young adult books including Guitar Highway Rose.
Still Life is split into four parts, each providing a structure to this diary-like novel.
The first offers a short narrative of Lowry in the present day being the queen of lists and “everything soup”. This was by far my favourite part of the book. Lowry has such a way with words and explaining events that captures audiences of mature ages. Even though I am a child of the digital age, I could understand the anxieties she presents in this chapter about living in the twenty-first century – that it’s okay to not understand or keep up with everything. I found myself laughing out loud at her peculiar quirks, like returning goods to the supermarket she doesn’t like and blaming her non-existent “fuckwit” husband, which were celebrated within this chapter.
The last three parts follow her spiritual and creative journey. It is written in a mix of prose and poetry that intertwine and aid her descriptions in a conversational type manner. This kept me engaged with the content that at times can be dry and hard to follow – as thought processes tend to be.
Still Life with Teapot is an enjoyable and relatively short read about the intricacies of life, especially the life of a creative, told through Brigid Lowry’s own experiences and learnings. It sees Lowry branching out of her young-adult-writer comfort zone – a boundary I hope to see her breaching more often.