**spoiler alert** An unrequited love story. It is the story of a woman pursued from the first buds of puberty to the sour smell of old age by one man.**spoiler alert** An unrequited love story. It is the story of a woman pursued from the first buds of puberty to the sour smell of old age by one man. For fifty-three years, seven months and eleven days and nights he does nothing but obsess over the woman. She accepted his love as a young girl but only from a distance and only through letters. When she finally meets him face to face, she realized that the love she felt for him was an illusion and broke off their engagement.
He persisted to love her from afar. He anguished over her and fell ill with the biting sting of unrequited love, which seemed to some to resemble cholera, an epidemic sweeping the Caribbean latitude. He was sickly to begin with, an old man even in his youth.
The woman married another man, a doctor; they lived together in unhappy happiness for fifty years. It was a successful marriage. Estranged, hard, and effected by the pendulum of emotions that people feel for each other over fifty years of learning to love and live together. However, after her husband’s death the woman still wondered if it was real love or just the illusion of love.
Upon her husband’s death, after waiting fifty years for her to become a widow the sickly romantic man approached her again. With the smell of flowers from her husband’s casket still permeating the house, the man offered his eternal love, again. Eventually, through a series of well-written letters about love and the heart’s method of mending itself, the man wins the woman’s favor and they begin the romance they never started. The story ends with the two elderly people traveling by riverboat, apparently forever.
This book was hard for me to dive into. Marquez writes with so much detail that while the story does move forward it seems to trudge along. Also, I found the main characters to be somewhat despicable.
The man who lived for nothing but love seemed very weak. He also had a habit of seeking to fill the void in his heart with broken woman. Towards the end of the story, he ruins a young girl by interfering with her and then casting her aside once he began his rekindled love affair with the woman.
How am I expected to feel happiness for this spindly little man? Yet, I know how he feels in his loneliness and desire for true love.
And the woman, though married for fifty years, endures the infidelity of her husband. She seems to live is a haze just above reality. She never seems to know if the emotions she feels are reality of illusion. Yet, she is stubborn in her resolve to rebuke love time and again.
How can I feel joy for her? Yet, I’ve been her before. I see that in myself.
Overall, it was a good book. I am fond of Marquez and I’m so glad that my friend introduced me to him. This book was thick, descriptive, and full of nooks and crannies. Noteworthy quotes:
"He was a different person: the lover who never showed his face, the man most avid for love as well as most niggardly with it, the man who gave nothing and wanted everything, the man who did not allow anyone to leave a trace of her passing in his heart, the hunter lying in ambush–this man went out on the street in the midst of ecstatic signed letters, gallant gifts, imprudent vigils at the pigeonkeeper’s house, even on two occasions when her husband was not on a trip or at the market. It was the only time, since his youngest days, when he felt himself run through by the lance of love."–pg. 216
“We men are the miserable slaves of prejudice,” he had once said to her. “But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral considerations she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about.”–pg. 329
I’ve just completed E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View.
Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome ‘nerves’ or any other shiI’ve just completed E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View.
Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome ‘nerves’ or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire.
I wasn’t happy with the story in the beginning. And to be honest, the characters in this book drove me crazy with their stifling ways. It was frustrating to watch the scenes unfold with such comic tragedy made-up completely in their own heads. Then again, I believe that was the moral Forster was trying to convey.
I am happy it ended well with at least a bit of relief for the heroine. Kisses rather than old misses.
And there is more here I’d like to say about spinsters and feminism. It seems Lucy was using an early form of feminism to shield herself from love. But Old Emerson says to her near the end:
It isn’t possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.
By his impassioned speech he convinces her to marry. He gave her a sense of deities reconciled, a feeling that, in gaining the man she loved, she would gain something for the whole world.
And is it that simple that by love you can heal the indirectness of life? Perhaps. Perhaps the poets are correct. I won’t cloak it with my own muddled thoughts.
Favorite excerpts from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
The first excerpt is Portia, housekeeper at the Kelly house and a sort of mothFavorite excerpts from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.
The first excerpt is Portia, housekeeper at the Kelly house and a sort of mother substitute for the children of the house, speaking to Mick Kelly, a girl in her early teens:
This afternoon you going to roam all over the place without never being satisfied. You going to traipse all around like you have to find something lost. You going to work yourself up with excitement. Your heart going to beat heard enough to kill you because you don’t love and don’t have peace.”
The second exerpt is at the end of the story, it is Biff Brannon, owner of the New York Cafe in the small Southern town of the novel’s setting, reflecting on his life:
Then suddenly he felt a quickening in him. His heart turned and he leaned his back against the counter for support. For in a swift radiance of illumination he saw a glimpse of human struggle and of valor. Of the endless fluid passage of humanity through endless time. And of those who labor and of those who—one word—love. His soul expanded. But for a moment only. For in him he felt a warning, a shaft of terror. Between the two worlds he was suspended. He saw that he was looking at his own face in the counter glass before him. Sweat glistened on his temples and his face was contorted. One eye was opened wider than the other. The left eye delved narrowly into the past while the right gazed wide and afrightened into a future of blackness, error, and ruin. And he was suspended between radiance and darkness. Between bitter irony and faith. Sharply he turned away.”
I suppose these two passages speak to me because I feel like they reflect my own life. And they are similar because they describe a person who can not commit to either love or labor and instead hover between the two, watching and searching for something they can’t define. ...more
Everyone has his or her own personal journey to follow. As a friend or relative, you can be there for them, offer advice and caution them when you seeEveryone has his or her own personal journey to follow. As a friend or relative, you can be there for them, offer advice and caution them when you see danger, but in the end, each person has to make a choice about how to live their lives. Only something inside of you will make a difference in you.
Just like Nemo and Marlin in Finding Nemo.
I finished J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories last night. I find that I enjoy reading Salinger. Unlike my experience with Virginia Woolf, who writes beautiful and pointedly, but with such verbosity and content that it is hard to get through it all. I should be done with Mrs. Dalloway sometime around the turn of the next decade.
This was my first sampling of Salinger’s work but I think I’d like to read some of his other stuff as well, perhaps Catcher in the Rye. “Teddy,” the last story in this collection of short stories was a compelling story about a boy-genius who was so very enlightened that he had a memory of his previous life. Though his parents where not Hindus or Buddhists, he believed in reincarnation.
Salinger introduces the boy with this charming description:
“Teddy turned around at the waist, without changing the vigilant position of his feet on the Gladstone, and gave his father a look of inquiry, whole and pure. His eyes which were pale brown in color, and not at all large, were slightly crossed–the left eye more than the right. They were not crossed enough to be disfiguring or even to be necessarily noticeable at first glance. They were crossed just enough to be mentioned, and only in context with the fact that one might have thought long and seriously before wishing them straighter, or deeper, or browner, or wider set. His face, just as it was, carried the impact, however oblique and slow-traveling, of real beauty.”
Later in the story, it is revealed that he has the ability to predict when a person could possibly die, and in fact reveals that he himself may die that day or later on Feb. 14, 1958.
He is completely resigned to the idea of death, as he did not see it as an end to his being but only as a transformation. I think this is an interesting concept. It is true that death is a natural part of the cycle. Everyone dies, “My gosh, everyone’s done it thousands and thousands of times.” Teddy explains.
Seems morbid but it actually makes me feel a bit lighter. Like this idea frees you from the fight. It allows a person to enjoy each moment because it could be the last one you have in this lifetime.
Teddy was explaining this to a man, about his own potential death and how it wouldn’t be all that tragic because he’d “just be doing what he was suppose to do after all.” The man replied, “It may not be tragic from your point of view, but it would certainly be a sad event for your mother and dad.”
Teddy answered, “But that is only because they have names and emotions for everything that happens.”
I don’t have a complete conclusion to this whole idea. It all seems so simple and complex at the same time, it did however get me thinking about life and the names we attach to things.
I highly recommend the shorts stories. They are all wonderful and weird in their own way. ...more