I want to paint sleeping birds then waking birds. I want to paint half moons and shape half moon glasses that bend because they're memories. I want to...moreI want to paint sleeping birds then waking birds. I want to paint half moons and shape half moon glasses that bend because they're memories. I want to live a lifetime in a single night. I want to recite poetry off the top of my head. I want to ride my bike at the top of the hill and let go. I want to hear and feel with my nerve endings. I want to paint faces of people I love on big walls and splatter my secrets on hidden walls. I want to see one of a girl who might or might not be me -- from an angle with eyes half shut, it might be, might be. I want to blow the universe into glass bubbles. I want to make colours and truth collide on brick. I want to be weird, and feisty, and gullible, and romantic like Lucy. I want to be conflicted, and desperate, but good like Ed.
This did me in. It made me collapsible. It raised me with string and made me stay there with putty. I'm still hanging. Hanging on to Cath Crowley's words, her feelings. Hanging on to every sideways glance and every thought trapped in their heads. On all the half-finished words that don't come out. Hanging on to all the wants she made me remember. She came and pulled them out. Served them on a silver platter. Like a show. Like an exhibition. There's a lot of showing here. Showing confessions, showing promises and apologies. Showing self. She covers your eyes, like Ed covered Lucy's that one time, because it's easier when you can't see. And then you're spilling your guts. Or she's spilling them for you. I want to unscrew the lid off Ed's jar and free his ghost. I want him to no longer be a Shadow. Want him to be solid, solid, solid. I hope Lucy's falling horse never lands. Love should always be like a horse tumbling through you. Feel the weight of it. Like you're in a field and there's a stampede but it's inside you. I want Leo to write me a haiku. I want Jazz to whisper my future. I want to be painted and be painted on. I want highways and roads and then waterfalls and I want them to sink into my skin. I want someone to give me a map then hold my hand when I find myself. (less)
Marquez begins his story with a note. In this note, he describes arriving at a convent in the process of being emptied and turned into a luxury hotel....moreMarquez begins his story with a note. In this note, he describes arriving at a convent in the process of being emptied and turned into a luxury hotel. Laborers unearthed "three generations of bishops and abbesses and other eminent personages" until, at last, they came to a niche of the high altar where they found the tomb of a twelve-year old girl called Sierva Maria de Todos Los Angeles. She had hair the color of copper and it flowed out of her head twenty-two metres long.
And so a story is born. Marquez imagines a life for a two hundred year old corpse. He replenishes her flesh and restores her bones and puts her through a time that can only be received with a heavy heart: Sierva Maria is born and neglected, then bitten by a dog, thought to have caught rabies, put through tumultuous medical examinations (which include drinking her own urine), then thought to be possessed, locked up in a convent presided over by a stern and irrational abbess, is then introduced to a priest, falls in love, and...well, this is the part when you read the story yourself.
Love, here, is equated to illness...demonic possession to be exact. Marquez is an author of magic realism and the lines between the realms are effectively fogged. Is Sierva Maria possessed or she not? The complexities of this question is impressively elicited in readers. Church and science are reflected in two astute and interesting characters.
But that is not truly the epitome of this story. For it is about love and the turmoil of it that surrounds these characters.
Sierva Maria is a young girl born to the Marquis. She is dismissed as a baby and left to fend for herself. It is a slave, the housekeeper of slaves, named Dominga de Adviento who takes the child into her care. Waking, sleeping and everything in between, Sierva does with the slaves; she learns their languages, their dance, their songs and traditions, rituals and beliefs. She is a feral child who slits the throats of goats and eats their organs. And it is the cruelest of actions to take her away from it all, only to be abused, misunderstood, rejected, and perceived as a demonic being. But she is a child, with an altered imagination because she was not raised with her people. She does not conform to general etiquette, she does not act, think, or speak like her color. She is different because she was orphaned by her living parents. And when one of them decides to extend his heart, it is much too late. Sierva represents the abandoned in all of us; the part left alone for so long it's forgotten to wish. She has no concept of love or truth, and when she finally does receive it, it is from a source forbidden with no future.
Perhaps, however, the storyline I found most gripping, with an almost all-consuming fear, was that of the Marquis. He grows up just as discarded as Sierva, with the exception that he had social, familial, and political obligations to fulfill. Having grown up in disappointment and inadequacy, he is turned numb by the sudden loss of his wife; numb just as he was learning to feel. He becomes a widower and this defines him for much too long of his life. He grows complacent, laxed and forgets to live. He lets life and its glory slip through his fingers without a single taste. Near the end, when he searches for his estranged second wife, if only "so they might at least each have someone to die with" -- the absolute desperation and loneliness of the image and the words and the intent and the deeply-rooted truth behind it was enough to make my heart constrict in sympathy, empathy, and panic. It made me hesitate in turning the page, made my eyes linger on the period, wanting but scared to read the coming passage. Would this bend my heart anymore than it already has? I was in a battle...afraid to consume the story that had me oppressively, yet tenderly, facing a mirror. (less)
Pretty to look at. Wish I could scrapbook like that. Didn't actually understand the "feminist" aspect of it except that it includes photographs of awe...morePretty to look at. Wish I could scrapbook like that. Didn't actually understand the "feminist" aspect of it except that it includes photographs of awesome some not awesome ladies, make-up, fluffy animals, fashion cutouts, a chic Victorian palette, lots of lace, pretty curtains and beautiful, curly doodles.(less)
A colleague of Hopkins once claimed that after reading The Wreck of the Deutschland, he got a very bad headache. I cannot disagree. Although I think i...moreA colleague of Hopkins once claimed that after reading The Wreck of the Deutschland, he got a very bad headache. I cannot disagree. Although I think its just that Hopkins might actually be too brilliant for the average mind. His works are weighted with metaphors, references, imagery and unorthodox use of language. One can research the crap out of a poem and still be missing a piece. It's quite mind-blowing. That's what the five stars is for. Not because I particularly enjoyed his poetry (I more respected, than delighted in) but because I acknowledge and appreciate his talent, his experimentation with poetic devices and what he ultimately did for modernist poetry (then again, I'm not much of a poetry junkie). Dare I say he was a genius? I think he might and truly have been.(less)
I haven't read everything in it, obviously, and the 5 stars is mostly because...well, the book has everything Shakespeare and I bought it at a used-bo...moreI haven't read everything in it, obviously, and the 5 stars is mostly because...well, the book has everything Shakespeare and I bought it at a used-book store four years ago, in mint condish, for 20 bucks. If that doesn't deserve a 5, right off the bat, I don't know what does. Bargain.(less)