Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A book

First I have to report on the state of my health. Yesterday I woke up and the cold was gone. As miraculously as it arrived. I went shopping and as an after math I had a two hour nap in the afternoon.

And before I get into the book that Jane gave me when she was here, I have to tell you about our son, Gilbert, who lives in Colorado. He called and said he is coming out on May 4 and will stay 4 days. He owns the house that Sam and I bought in 1983. About five years before Sam died Gilbert bought the house at a ridiculously reduced price, with the proviso that Sam and I would live there till we died. It worked well as long as Sam lived and when I found that I could no longer afford to live there I moved. Last year. Now he is coming out to check what needs to be done before he moves in. It will be great to see him. It's been years.

Now the book. Written by Muriel Barbery, it is named THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG. I was told it was difficult to get into and that is correct. I am now on page 90 and I think I am in the swing of it. I love the language. Very elegant. She never uses a five ;etter word if she can say the same with a seven or nineletter word.

An example on page-90. "I pour the tea and we sip in silence. We have never had our tea together in the morning, and this break with our usual protocol imbues the ritual with a strange flavor.

Yes this sudden transmutation in the order of things seems to enhance our pleasure, as if consecrating the unchanging nature of a ritual established over our afternoons together, a ritual that has ripened into a solid and meaningful reality. Today, because it has been transgressed, our ritual suddenly acquires all its power; we are tasting the splendid gift of this unexpected morning as if it were some precious nectar; ordinary gestures have an extraordinary resonance, as we breathe in the fragrance of the tea, savor it, lower our cups, serve more, and sip again: every gesture has the bright aura of rebirth. At moments like this the web of life is revealed by the power of ritual, and each time we renew our ceremonies, the pleasure will be all the greater for having violated one of its principles. Moments like this act as magical interludes, placing our hearts at the edge of our souls: fleetingly, yet intensly, a fragment of eternity has come to enrich time. Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn - and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb.

Read this several times and see the words throb. I will let everyone know what happens later I think I am going to love this book.


Haphazardkat said...

Yes, it takes the mind a minute to follow the un-orthodox way the authors mind works--but once the rhythm is found it’s soothing. Like waves twisting and turning on a stormy day at the beach.

Vancouver, WA

musingegret said...

The writing was so mesmerizing I had to research the author. This review from Time of August 2008:


Thank you so much Ms. Svensto for introducing me to this author. I'm so pleased your cold disappeared and Gilbert's coming to visit. Have a wonderful reunion.

musingegret said...

Ooops! Here's the Time magazine review converted to a site name that isn't truncated!