**spoiler alert** Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands... a lot. Also, you may feel compelled to go out and purchase your own HA**spoiler alert** Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands... a lot. Also, you may feel compelled to go out and purchase your own HAZMAT suit. Try not to read this book before bed. It may cause some unsettling dreams. Like... dreams about your internal organs liquifying and bleeding out of your eyeballs. I don't know, I found that kind of unsettling. This book has singlehandedly accomplished my vow to never visit Africa. Mostly because Africa is a giant continent filled with monkey pox and malarial insects. Does that make me a big namby pamby puddin head? That's okay. I'm comfortable with that. I'm fine with staying places on the globe where I'm less likely to scrape my hand on bat guano and die a horrible, convulsive, putrifying death 36 hours later. I'm funny that way.
Also, in combination with the book 'The Coming Plague' by Laurie Garrett, with reading this I became convinced that our destruction as a species will come not at the tragedy of nuclear annihilation, which I had feared my entire conscious life... but instead through tiny, virulent microorganisms which will become eternally mutating flesh-eating death machines, ripping through our communities until there's nothing left but rotting jelly. I have felt much more relaxed about life since then.
This is the sort of book that I didn't expect to like, given that the title seems ridiculously ambitious. But in a moment of optimism I bought it anywThis is the sort of book that I didn't expect to like, given that the title seems ridiculously ambitious. But in a moment of optimism I bought it anyway, and boy did it pay off. Nicole Krauss skirts the intimidating topic of romantic love by sneaking up behind other kinds of love and encouraging them to stop leaning against the wall at the dance and get out there and share their groove thang. She weaves together disparate threads of lives until, by the end, you see the vast, beautiful, silken ascot they all comprise together. I loved the non-linear approach, the tiny details, the quiet way she hints at what makes us human. This book is everything I hope to find when I go to fiction. It reminded me to not take anything for granted... to take love where it finds me... not to scoff at any that comes along, albeit tiny and well camoflaged. Like the Grinch, when I read this book my heart grew three sizes....more
When I got tired of copying love poems from the Chinese and Japanese into urgent, wretched note cards to lovers who were unattainable (and I'm a geniuWhen I got tired of copying love poems from the Chinese and Japanese into urgent, wretched note cards to lovers who were unattainable (and I'm a genius at finding unattainable characters to pine after)... that's when I turned to Pablo Neruda. He's even better than Asian poets at crafting throbbing, passionate, wounded phrases of affection:
I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrence risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
No one can stop the river of your hands, your eyes and their sleepiness, my dearest. You are the trembling of time, which passes between the vertical light and the darkening sky.
From the stormy archipelagoes I brought my windy accordian, waves of crazy rain, the habitual slowness of natural things: they made up my wild heart.
Imagine for a moment being the unsuspecting recipient of such transcribed scribblings. You thought you were just getting a nice shag, and now you're getting Neruda by notecard, shoved into the mail slot of your door, or left under your windshield wiper at the parking garage. At least I never called in the middle of the night and left Neruda recitations on the answering machine. Okay, maybe I did once. But there had been a great deal of tequila involved.
Not everything he wrote was tortured. Some of it was just beautiful:
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;...
...so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
because love cannot always fly without resting, our lives return to the wall, to the rocks of the sea: our kisses head back home where they belong.
By night, Love, tie your heart to mine, and the two together in their sleep will defeat the darkness
Luckily I got over the phase where I copied tragic poetry into notecards to express my unrequited passions. Now I've moved on to mix CDs. I swear, I'm a caricature even of myself. Emo mommy. Pardon me while I don a pirate blouse and walk moodily across the moors on a stormy day.