Thursday, June 28, 2007

these are the very words she uses to describe her life

on saturday I read The History of Love by nicole krauss. she is married to jonathan safran foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated. this is too bad. for me, I mean. however, this does not discredit any of their works. if anything, they will now be read for pure literary merit. which they should be. all being very good books. one might even call them excellent.* nicole dedicates the book to her grandparents (who taught her "the opposite of disappearing") and "for jonathan, my life". pretty sweet. I suppose they get along well. for a dedication like that, they must. unless she is hiding something. but that is doubtful. I imagine them sitting in their new york apartment, a view overlooking central park or a river of some natural landscape, surrounded by books and bookshelves and a modern painting or two and low-lying (?) furniture. they cook for each other (after all, they are married.) and read their books to each other and comment and cross out but avoid the use of red pens because they are too harsh. but that's just me.

their writing styles are very similar. maybe it is those late night editing sessions or being surrounded by someone so much you start to think their thoughts or even their attraction for each other and their similarities that lead^ to love. their writing is refreshing. a new fiction. as claire messud of LA Weekly posits, "alternately delightful and hilarious and deeply affecting." elizabeth berg, author The Year of Pleasures, calls it "a work that captivates, challenges, and consoles, all at once." these and other verbose and adjective-heavy reviews can be found on the first six pages of nicole's book. but what nicole herself writes is better than even what the Cleveland Plain Dealer has to say on it. it's uplifting. a good story.

here is an excerpt, from page 72 , "the age of silence":

The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people's hands, nothing we say not that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.

During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious...
the day before I read The History of Love I read New Face in the Mirror by yael dayan, daughter of moshe dayan. it was waiting on my dresser when I came home. from my father, who goes to goodwills and looks in the books for things that he might be able to sell on ebay. I didn't like yael's book very much. it scared me and I did not know how to react or what to think. yesterday I read The Last American Man by elizabeth gilbert. she is a brilliant writer. she just wrote Eat, Pray, Love; though the book is very popular and loved and universally admired and therefore there were no copies on the library's shelves. so I got her older one instead. it is a book about america and dreams and values and tradition and how we live. elizabeth describes the life of eustace conway, a man who lives in a "traditional" manner on his 1,000 acre plot in the woods of north carolina. he promotes life like this, living in a traditional manner, making buildings from the woods around him, eating the animals he kills, thanking the animals for giving their lives to sustain his, and so on. it's interesting. eustace works to spread this message, to become a Man of Destiny, to tell americans that they need to give up their materialistic lives and return to the woods. but, I wonder, wouldn't this destroy the woods if everyone returned? population problems? eustace is extremely impressive for doing and carrying out to such an extent what he so believes in. I could not do it. live in the woods, working all day, as he does. I do not think so.

right now I am reading American Gods by neil gaiman. I do not know what to think so far. it is like a scary movie you have just started to watch but cannot stop because you need to know what happens.

please, dear readers, recommend me some books to read. I am home for a month with naught to do.

harold and maude is on. must go. happy independence, my dear america.

* there is a wicked storm out. sheets of rain. pounding pavement. streaks of lightening. thunder that shakes the window frames. the works. it's pretty frightening, actually. i wonder how my dad will make it home from work.**
** as anyone who's read the pennsylvania learner's permit handbook knows, one musn't drive in thundering downpours such as this, and certainly not in the first 10 minutes of one when the roads are slickest. one should pull over, preferably into a parking lot, turn on flashers, and wait it out.***
*** I just read the book. that's how I know. not that I memorize seemingly random yet important facts such as these and recite them ad hoc. I passed the exam. thanks for your support.****
**** ok, the thunder is getting very loud and close and long now. I blame it on the river. the river (the one washington crossed) is down the street. I suppose I should turn off the computer and light some candles and read. just in case. of a power outage, that is. not of a reader's knowledge championship.*****
***** five stars seems a bit excessive. too bad blogger doesn't have superscript. the storm ended. i mean, it's a week later, baruch hashem it ended. we lost power for a few hours. there was no flooding. now it is july 4. but blogger puts the date as to when the post was started, not posted. haval.
^ I'm not sure if this is the proper spelling of this word. this word (and others, like lie/lay, choose) confuse me tremendously. I'll leave it like this, without checking it, so you will see I have some imperfections and believe in my humanity.

1 comment:

katers said...

Stop reading so many books. It makes one feel inferior and lazy. One might just have an attention problem and no access to ritalin. (Maybe because one's dealer's still in Israel, LOL!!!!!!!)
Why was the Dayan one so scary? Was it because it had eyepatch and managed to sleep with half of Israel?