Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What is it about men that makes women so lonely?

Great line, isn't it?

It's from Seven Types of Ambiguity, by Elliot Perlman. I haven't read a really great book since Richard Price's Lush Life (I keep a list of everything I've read on the sidebar over there on the right, if you care). And this one may ultimately disappoint, as I haven't finished it yet. But I'm halfway through, and still riveted. The book shows the same event through the eyes of seven first person narrators. It's like strolling down a long hall of mirrors. And the various first person voices keep it focused on plot and character.

I get a curious sensation of falling when I start a new book. I start out knowing nothing. I begin to see the barest outlines of rooms, just walls at first, and they gradually acquire detail: the furniture, the wallpaper, the floor. Characters start out as mere words, form faces, then bodies. You discover how they dress, how they walk. They turn into living, breathing people if the writing is good enough. Right in front of your eyes. You can hear their voices when they talk.

That feeling of going down the rabbit hole as I read has been amplified lately because of where I've been reading. The girls have been...well, let's be polite and simply say rambunctious...at bedtime lately. So El Huquito and I take turns staying in their room as they fall asleep, to prevent talking and playing and cavorting with the kitties. We have a little reading light that clips onto the brim of a hat, and we hand off the hat to each other, night after night.

So if it's my turn, after the lights go out, I sit in a dark, warm room, surrounded by the sound of my daughters' breathing and the purring of kitties, my book illuminated in a thin cone of light. It's so relaxing. I've sometimes stayed in there for a half an hour or so after they've gone to sleep, simply because it's such a nice place to read.


Hilary said...

What a wonderful description of how you feel reading a good book.. how the characters and plot evolve and how you become involved. I find that true of a quality blog voice as well. And so I'm hooked.

Daisy said...

And by the end of the post, I could see you sitting there in the darkness, with your cone of light.

Anonymous said...

It won't disappoint! One of my favourite all-time books.

Noel said...

Such a wonderful description of reading a book.
And that last paragraph where you talk about your life--that can be directly out of a prose poem. Such mediation on the values of the everyday life. You make me want to be more generous with my own life.

Clowncar said...

Thanks, Hilary. What a nice thing to say!

Daze: sadly, I'm guessing that when you picture me, you picture the hat the light is clipped onto as a Yankees hat. You do, don't you? Admit it.

Anonamous: still not done - having s busy week - but you're right, it's not disappointing.

Noel, you always have such kind words for my posts. I don't think of myself as being particularly generous with my life. Too wrapped up in the busy day-to-day detail of it. But thank you.

meno said...

That first line stopped me in my tracks.

*heading off to the bookstore now*

Clowncar said...

Yes, Meno, it's a very good line.

todd said...

I'll have to pick up that book; from the description, it made me think of the movie 'Rashomon.' Have you seen that? It's excellent.

Love your blog, by the way.