Friday, July 6, 2007

Misrepresenting Saramago

It took me days to find the bloody quote, which was at the beginning of the book, not the middle, as I'd thought: he didn't say good and evil do not exist; rather, that neither exists in themselves, each being merely the absence of the other. Quite different.

Nearly done with The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. It's very funny. I had this huge resistance to beginning a new author, though I'd read one of his novels a year or so ago. It's almost a kind of hostility, or revulsion: once one is in the current of someone's writing, and has been there for weeks, changing to a different stream - temperatures, flow - is daunting. And changing from Lit Lite Patrick O'Brian - pure escapism, I needed it almost the way I needed Moby Dick in winter/summer, depending on one's continent, both, then, of 2003 - to Saramago, which is proper escapism (impure? or are they the other way round) seemed unpleasant at first. Constanza said, I tried to read that book about the convent and the people building the flying machine, and couldn't! That's Baltasar and Blimunda. Not so bad because I was just going a century back from Maturin and Jack's travels, to 1711 Portugal. It's funny, writing. Patick O'Brian's portraits of history are very light and yet quite detailed and entertaining. One can't marvel at his sentences or imperceptibly start to recognize the things he likes, because they keep appearing. Or be seduced by his rhythm or how he says something. His characters do sometimes say something which is worthwhile on human level, though, dogearable...Could I reread them? But they do provide accurate trivia which gave me conversation tonight when I had no one to talk to but a plump and pleasant television producer who films a program (nonfiction reality TV, he said, verbatim) about a bounty hunter, yes, that one - and where I could tell him that there were parts of London in the 18th century which were havens for fugitives from Justice. Now I just have to remember which parts [JAY???].

But now that I'm in, I'm in, which is great. There are a lot of Saramagos to go.

The tallest lily, Silk Road, I think, has fallen over in the rain. So, too, a Formosa. I cut them and put them in the galvanized watering can, which is full of rainwater. My hands are orange with pollen and the scent from the terrace fills the apartment and met me at the door. I can't put them inside. They will overpower us, and the firemen will find the bodies of a white woman and a black cat, asphyxiated by 6 foot lilies.

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