The Rose and the Peacock

Stephanie Mansell, sole author of The Rose and the Peacock, is nostalgic. She’s nostalgic for a time she never lived in (unless she’s a 60-year-old who comes off as a twenty-something). She dreams of smoke rings in black and white and three-slice toasters; she has a penchant for flipping through old issues of Life magazine and watching Turner Classic Movies; and she writes tributes to her idols from the early days of Hollywood. “In this world of shadows cast by venetian blinds I am contented, at ease,” she writes, presumably referring to the noir films she’s catching on TCM. All in all it seems Stephanie feels she should have been born in the ’40s. It’s actually preferable that Stephanie dwell on her all-encompassing longing for a time she missed for as long as possible, as one begins to expect to find more evidence of her obsession on each page. So a piece such as the captioned photo of the Faculty of Education at McGill University, while interesting in its own right, doesn’t feel like it fits here. I’d rather hear more about her love for Fred MacMurray (from film noir classic Double Indemnity, but also recognizable from The Shaggy Dog) and her poem for the host of TCM, Robert Osborne: “Smiling amicably/ a perfectly straight row of white dentures gleams;/ Silver hair reflects bright/ overhead lights.” (Lindsay Gibb)

Perzine, Stephanie Mansell [email protected], Free