Oddly, as I was reading this story, I actually thought, "Sounds like a character from Murakami's work." You know, since I read one single Murakami book, making me an expert.
Moving on from being totally pretentious.
I've had In the Skin of A Lion on my coffee table for at least two weeks now, waiting to be reviewed. Or whatever it is I do here, with the books.
Michael Ondaatje's writing is just so lyrical. Whimsical. The man is my new best friend -- if he, like, knew me. So I guess I mean to say we should really be friends. I'd be all, "Hey, Ondaatje, tell me a fairy tale!" And he'd say, "Trish, do you really need another fairy tale? Hasn't your collection of chick flicks on DVD fed you enough lies about unattainable romantic love?" And I'd whisper uncertainly, "No...."
"In books he had read, even those romances he swallowed during childhood, Patrick never believed that characters lived only on the page. They altered when the author's eye was somewhere else. Outside the plot there was a great darkness, but there would of course be daylight elsewhere on earth. Each character had his own time zone, his own lamp, otherwise they were just men from nowhere." p. 143
"Official histories, news stories surround us daily, but the events of art reach us too late, travel languorously like messages in a bottle.
"Only the best art can order the chaotic tumble of events. Only the best can realign chaos to suggest both the chaos and order it will become." p. 146
I know these snippets tell you little about this book. I raced through the novel, sprinted through it in a single day at the airport (it was a long, long day, although I have nothing to complain about really).
The image that stayed with me, though, was that of a nun falling off a bridge, grabbed, then shedding her skin for another life. I don't want to ruin anything for you, but it's so, so good.
I fell a little bit in love with Patrick -- more so in his later, quieter days than his early eager ones. But there is this wistfulness in him, from childhood through fatherhood. And, at once, mourned him. I really have to re-read The English Patient at some point. (Thanks, S.)
In the meantime, however, I am finishing Happenstance, before starting a George Orwell book for book club. I am fascinated by the idea no two people can ever really know each other, can ever actually crawl into each other's minds and understand what's going on. And I can't get over the pent-up anger in Carol Shields's women. (Again, talking like an expert when this is only my second Shields novel. Sigh.)
I am also overwhelmed by the reality -- the absolute truth -- that a woman needs a room of her own. And that this was once a novel idea, an idea to hold your breath for or cross your fingers for or wish with your whole body that someone else would understand.
I've always been so curious about women my age who refuse to identify themselves as feminists. They shy away from seeming militant or scary. But I see that I, too, have just no idea.