The Service of Clouds

The Service of Clouds

Delia Falconer | Pan Macmillan | 9780330360272

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The year the Hydro Majestic Hotel failed as a hydropathic institute Harry Kitchings fell in love with the air and stayed. Les Curtain began to feel the dusk in his lungs. It was a romantic year. Men carried thermometers and dreamed of women struck by lightning. Postmen hauled packets filled with love and human hair. Women carried notebooks and pressed storms in them like flowers. You could feel our love rising from the mountaintops. At least that is how Harry Kitchings might tell it. What were we in love with?

It is 1907 and the Blue Mountains are filled with the grand dreams of elsewhere. Eureka Jones, a young pharmacist's assistant with historical eyes, falls in love with Harry Kitchings, a man who takes pictures of clouds and succumbs to the 'madness of photography'. Their love turns the mountains sapphire blue. Set in a vast landscape haunted by sadness and the stories of romance which drift across it, The Service of Clouds combines the lushness of Marquez and the tenderness of Ondaatje to explore passion, illness, and the secret desires men and women bring to mountains.


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