Dragoste – Isabel Allende

Volumul „Dragoste” al autoarei chiliene Isabel Allende, publicat in 2012 cu titlul „Amor” si aparut la noi la Editura Humanitas in 2014, este de fapt o selectie de scene de dragoste din mai toate cartile sale anterioare, grupate in capitole cu nume sugestive pentru stadiile prin care trece iubirea de-a lungul vietii: Deșteptarea, Prima iubire, Pasiunea, Gelozia, Iubiri neîmplinite, Umor și Eros, Magia iubirii, Dragoste nesfârșită și La maturitate. Un fel de the best of the best.

Fiindca textele sunt scurte si scoase din context, nu as avea prea multe de zis decat ca mi s-a deschis apetitul pentru opera lui Isabel Allende si deja am facut rost de alte patru romane ale sale. Timp sa fie! O colectie de mostre ce ti se dau spre gustare tocmai pentru a-ti starni pofta si a cere o bucata mai mare, si apoi inca una, scurtele textele citite m-au lasat tanjind grav dupa mai mult. Nici nu apucam sa ma obisnuiesc cu personajele, ca imediat se termina lectura, exact cand era mai mare interesul, ceea ce a fost un pic frustrant. Asta e singurul motivul pentru care nu i-am dat punctajul maxim pe Goodreads. Pentru ca altfel, cu mana pe inima spun ca mi-am gasit o noua dragoste literara. Pur si simplu m-a cucerit acest realism magic proaspat descoperit in scrierile ei, stilul franc, direct, natural, lejer, lipsit de jena si punctat de umor subtil si ironie. Da, e literatura erotica, dar una cu bun gust, fina si eleganta, lipsita de vulgaritate, penibil si exces de sirop ingretosator.

Pe langa asta, mi-a placut ca fiecare capitol este insotit de cate o ilustratie (realizata de Ana Juan), un citat reprezentativ (le veti regasi pe toate la finalul acestui articol) si un fel de cuvant-inainte in care autoarea isi expune propria experienta de viata in legatura cu subiectul fiecarui capitol. Aceste introduceri sunt, cred eu, punctul forte al volumului de fata si as fi tot citit si citit si-as fi vrut sa nu se mai termine. Mi-au dat senzatia ca sunt la o cafea cu o prietena veche, interesanta si inteleapta, cu care as putea povesti ore in sir fara sa ma plictisesc, ba mai mult, as trai destule momente „aha” si as pleca de acolo cu o gramada de invataminte pretioase.

Cred ca volumul se vrea un fel de pledoarie pentru dragoste, acest subiect inepuizabil, dar si pentru opera lui Isabel Allende. Si in cazul meu, si-a atins scopul. Ceea ce va doresc tuturor!

CITATE DIN CARTE:

  • „Ce pacat ca ardoarea inflacarata se transforma intr-o dragoste deplina! Mie imi place tocmai inflacararea.” (din „Viata si spririt”)
  • „Prima iubire e ca varstaul de vant: lasa urme de nesters.” (din „Fiica norocului”)
  • „Ce face sa se aprinda pasiunea? Propria fantezie, presupun. Si ce o stinge? Rutina, daca o neglijezi, si saracia.”(din „Viata si spirit”)
  • „Se vorbeste mereu de cat de mult iubeste o femeie, insa rareori de cat de mult a fost ea iubita. Am primit multa dragoste. Nici un barbat nu m-a parasit – un noroc incredibil, nu-i asa? N-a fost nevoie sa ucid pe nimeni din gelozie sau ciuda.” (din „Viata si spirit”)
  • „Dragostea, ca si norocul, vine cand n-o chemi, navaleste peste noi si dispare ca ceata cand incercam sa o retinem. Asa ca, din punctul de vedere al capacitatii si stimulative, este un lux de care au parte cativa norocosi, dar e ceva de neatins pentru cei care n-au fost raniti de sageata ei.” (din „Afrodita”)
  • „Noi, femeile, nu ascultam decat daca ni se sopteste la ureche. Punctul nostru G se afla in urechi; cei care-l cauta mai jos isi pierd timpul – pe al lor si pe al nostru.” (din „Afrodita”)
  • „Linia care desparte realitatea de imaginatie e foarte subtire, iar la varsta mea nu mai conteaza, pentru ca totul e subiectiv.” (din „Ines a sufletului meu”)
  • „Atunci cand sotul si amantul sunt una si aceeasi persoana, poate ca o buna parte din distractie se pierde, in schimb ai mai mult timp sa te uiti la filme. Mie-mi plac filmele…” (din „Afrodita”)
  • „In general, raman cu un oarecare barbat o perioada considerabila. Tendinta asta pentru relatii indelungate nu vine din masochism sau din lipsa de imaginatie din parte-mi, ci din prudenta. E o tevatura intreaga sa-si schimbi partenerul: trebuie sa inventezi strategii noi ca sa te intalnesti cu el la ore bizare, sa-ti cumperi desuuri sexi care sa-ti ascunda celulita, sa te pliezi la fanteziile erotice ale tipului, prostii d egenul asta. E o bataie de cap si, in majoritatea cazurilor, nici nu merita osteneala.” (din „Afrodita”)
  • „Willie ma cunoaște mai bine decât mă cunosc eu însămi, dar tot ma iubește. Ne avem unul pe celălalt, e un motiv de sărbătoare.”
  • „În cultura noastră, care supraevaluează tinerețea și frumusețea, ai nevoie de multă dragoste și de niște trucuri de iluzionist ca să păstrezi vie dorința față de ființa care te excita și acum e plină de beteșuguri și uzată.”
  • „Poti face un roman-fluviu din mai nimic: nu faptele conteaza, ci emotiile.”
  • „O mare parte din scrierile mele sunt ancorate in realitate. Compensez lipsa de imaginatie cu lucrurile pe care le observ si le aud , drept care am material din belsug; pot folosi ce vreau fara sa ma gandesc la plata.”
  • „Paiunea e tare buna pentru literatura si cinema:ne excita peripetiile a doi oameni mistuit de dorinta, asta si explica succesul pornografiei, chiar daca in acest caz dorinta e falsa. In orice poveste, pana si in basme, personajele trec prin aventuri si inving raii, ca sa ajunga la premiul asteptat: un sarut (sau ceva mai mult), cu care totul se termina. Sarutul asta vrea sa arate fericirea imuabila a cuplului congelat in timp si spatiu, doar ca in viata reala sarutul nu e decat primul pas pe un drum presarat cu obstacole.”
  • „Nu e deloc intamplator ca in majoritatea scenelor d edragoste si sex din cartile mele initiativa e a femeii. In fanteziile mele romantice, erotice sau literare, supunerea feminina nu are sens, e o piedica. In ciuda succeselor repurtate de miscarea de eliberare a femeilor, noi continuam sa investim mai mult in cuplu decat o fac barbatii, ne luptam s apastram dragostea, iar cand aceasta esueaza, preferam s apunem capat, in vreme ce majoritatea barbatilor continua sa balteasca intr-o relatie mediocra doar ca sa nu-si schimbe rutina, iar daca se hotarasc sa se despartae de obicei pentru ca s-au amorezat de alta. Eu cred ca durabilitatea dragostei depinde in mare masura de femeie, pentru ca e biologic si cultural conectata la emotii si intuitie, ceea ce-i da un oarece avantaj in cuplurile heterosexuale. Cliseul care spune ca barbatii sunt simpli, transparenti si poligami are dramul sau de adevar, ca toate cliseele, iar o femeie inteleapta poate descifra lesne natura partenerului, il poate manipula si ii poate da destule motive sa nu-si paraseasca cuibul, cu conditia ca tipul sa nu fie un psihopat sadea, fireste. Imi cer scuz epentru generalizarea asta de doi bani!”
  • „Bette Davis spunea ca batranetea nu e pentru cei slabi de inger, si avea dreptate, caci ai nevoie de foarte multa forta de caracter atunci cand corpul incepe sa te lase. Totul se schimba in momentul cand treci pragul varstei a treia, de la familie, care incepe sa se dezintegreze, pana la activitati, idealuri si preocupari care inainte vreme ne pasionau, iar acum ne plictisesc de moarte. Oricum, a te descompune cu cineva alaturi e mult mai bine decat a o face singura, iar eu am bafta de a fi gasit aceasta dragoste statornica despre care vorbeam in capitolul precedent.”

Băiatul cu pijamale în dungi – John Boyne

Cartea „Băiatul cu pijamale în dungi” a irlandezului John Boyne, publicată în 2006, ecranizata doi ani mai târziu și adaptată pentru teatru în 2015, a devenit rapid bestseller, fiind vândută în peste 9 milioane de exemplare până în prezent. La 10 ani de la publicare, a fost scoasă pe piață și o ediție aniversară ilustrată de către bunul prieten al autorului, artistul Oliver Jeffers.

Cartea spune povestea lui Bruno, un băiețel german de 9 ani, care se mută împreună cu familia din casa cu cinci etaje din Berlin, la Out-With, care este de fapt Auschwitz, tatăl său, ofițer de rang înalt in SS, fiind desemnat să conducă lagărul. Casa lor e „singura casă adevărată”, iar Bruno găsește locul ciudat și plictisitor, mai ales ca cei trei prieteni ai săi au rămas în Berlin, iar aici nu cunoaște pe nimeni de vârsta sa. Asta până într-o zi când, plimbându-se de-a lungul gardului aflat în apropierea casei, întâlnește un băiețel uscațiv și îmbrăcat într-o pijama cu dungi, care locuieste împreună cu tatăl său de cealaltă parte a gardului. Acesta se numește Shmuel, născut în aceeași zi cu Bruno, și este de fapt evreu închis în lagăr, ceea ce nu-i împiedică să devină prieteni. Această prietenie este și cea care-i va aduce sfârșitul lui Bruno.

Printre atatea scrieri laudative despre cat de minunată și emotionanta și fantastică este cartea asta, articolul meu o să cadă exact ca nuca în perete, fiindcă – ghiciți ce? – mie mi s-a părut o poveste slabă și simplista, mustind de inexactități istorice, pe care nu am putut să le trec cu vederea, oricât am încercat. Și zău că am încercat!

Ideea in sine nu ar fi chiar asa rea, dacă acțiunea ar fi fost plasata în alta parte, și nu la Auschwitz. Intâmplările ar fi fost mai credibile, cu siguranta, dar asa, povestea pare scrisa pe genunchi, doar de dragul de a fi scrisa și publicata, cu scopul de a smulge doua lacrimi cititorului, de a impresiona și a vinde, ca mai toate cărțile gravitand in jurul celui De-Al Doilea Război Mondial apărute în ultimii ani. Se pare ca e tare la moda subiectul asta! Și inepuizabil!

Prin urmare, trebuie specificat încă din capul locului ca aceasta poveste nu se bazează pe fapte reale, cum multă lume încă mai crede (din recenziile găsite si citite pe net), ci este pură fictiune, fiindca evenimentele descrise în carte nu aveau pur și simplu cum să se întâmple.

Autorul ori nu s-a documentat deloc înainte de a se pune pe treabă, ori a ignorat cu nonșalanță adevărul istoric. Altfel nu-mi explic cum poate fiul unui ofițer SS de rang înalt, pus de însuși Hitler să conducă lagărul Auschwitz-Birkenau, să fie atât de naiv și neștiutor în legătură cu ce se petrece în jurul lui. Bruno ar fi trebuit să fie conștient de războiul dus de Germania nazistă, ba chiar să facă parte din Tineretul Hitlerist, îndoctrinat cu ideologia nazistă, deci cu siguranță ar fi știut cine erau bărbatul „destul de scund” și cu mustață ciudată și femeia înaltă, „cu părul blond și buze foarte roșii” care au fost primiți cu mare fast la cină de către părinții săi. Și clar ar fi știut și ce înseamnă „Heil Hitler!”. Cred că asta m-a enervat cel mai tare: neștiința și naivitatea lui Bruno, imposibile din punct de vedere istoric! Mi-a amintit de scuzele folosite de majoritatea nemților de rând la încheierea războiului, cum că ei nu au știut ce soartă aveau evreii și nici ce se petrecea în lagărele de concentrare, în timp ce adevărul s-a demonstrat a fi exact pe dos. Știau bine ce orori se întâmplau, dar au închis ochii  multora convenindu-le situația fiindcă și-au putut însuși bunurile și proprietățile evreilor.

În plus, întâlnirea dintre Bruno și Shmuel nu ar fi putut avea loc niciodată, întrucât copiii ajunși la Auschwitz-Birkenau erau trimiși direct la camerele de gazare, nefiind considerați forță de muncă viabilă. Puținii care nu aveau soarta asta erau folosiți pentru experimente medicale și nu erau ținuți laolaltă cu ceilalți detinuti. Oricum, Shmuel nu s-ar fi putut în niciun caz plimba toată ziua în voie pe lângă gardul lagărului. Gard care, apropo, era electrificat! Deci nu văd cum ar fi trecut Bruno pe sub el cu atâta ușurință!

Pe lângă toate astea, personajul lui Shmuel mi-a părut abia schițat, nu are profunzime, nici personalitate, fiind prezentat doar din postura de victimă pasivă, fapt care a îngreunat crearea unei conexiuni. Pur și simplu mi-a fost greu să empatizez cu el. Nu ca personajul lui Bruno, atât de ignorant in chestiunea războiului, ar fi mai credibil!

Deși nu pot spune că citirea cărții mi-a stârnit o dorință fantastică de a vedea și ecranizarea din 2008, probabil că într-un final, voi arunca un ochi și asupra filmului. Sunt curioasă doar să văd în ce măsură scenariul urmărește cartea.

Concluzia este ca am dat cartii 2 stele pe Goodreads pentru neverosimilitatea, superficialitatea și trivializarea unui subiect atat de greu precum Holocaustul! Chiar dacă se vrea o fictiune istorica pentru copii, ororile lagărelor naziste n-ar trebui îndulcite și pictate în roz și nici adevărul distorsionat.

CITATE DIN CARTE:

  • „Nu se simțise niciodată în viața lui așa de rușinat; nu-și imaginase niciodată că ar fi fost în stare să se comporte atât de crud. Se întreba cum un băiat, care credea despre el că e bun, poate să se comporte cu un prieten într-un mod atât de laș.”

Juniper, The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon – Tom and Kelley French

Pentru doritori, podcastul despre povestea lui Juniper poate fi ascultat aici, iar mai jos va las cateva videoclipuri si bineinteles, citatele culese din carte.

CITATE DIN CARTE:

  • „She arrived at the edge of what is possible and what is right, the shadowland between life and death, hubris and hope.”
  • „If we made her long to know what happened next, maybe we could keep her with us until dawn.”
  • „My parents had plenty of flaws, but their gift to me was the freedom to explore.”
  • „She would be fierce and wild and dirty and drag a kitten under one arm. She would climb trees and sing.”
  • „Real stories did not arrive via press release. They did not announce themselves, but they were all around us, for the plucking.”
  • „I kissed him to make him stop talking. To make him forget the girlfriend, or any previous or concurrent women, or any version of himself that had ever existed that was afraid to begin again. I kissed him to say, If you never do this again, you’ll miss it for the rest of your long, static life.”
  • „He was interested in the world, its history, its richness, its forces and counterforces. All its crazy beauty became magnified and reflected in him, and when I was around him, it rained on me.”
  • „I walked around inside that place, a temple to the things man can build and the things beyond his understanding, the afternoon sun streaming through stained glass. Man’s filter and God’s light.”
  • „I wasn’t religious, but I was in love, and that felt like religion.”
  • „“You’re like this vast, unexplored continent,” he said one night on the phone. “And I could wander around it forever.””
  • „“Writing is a concentrated form of paying attention,” he told me. “And so is singing, and kissing and praying.””
  • „I stubbornly believed, as so many women believe about so many men, that I could help him rediscover the best parts of himself, the person he might have been had divorce and middle age not beaten him blind.”
  • „They were already two of the finest humans I’d ever met— generous and joyful and funny. Tom was damaged, but they were perfect. And he was part of the reason.”
  • „Tom slept too easily, always with his back to me. I could never sleep, lying next to so much confusion, so I’d just watch him breathe.”
  • „I would tell her I loved her and taste the ashes of those words in my mouth.”
  • „She was a puzzle I could never solve. She did not seem to need anything, except what I would not give her.”
  • „Mysterious and self- contained, she refused to be understood before she was ready.”
  • „On the page, as in her life, she remained just out of reach.”
  • „Something inside me was broken. I worried that I only knew how to skate the surface of things, that I had never learned how to hold on to anything that counted, or to even recognize what counted. I suspected that I was not a person at all, but a facsimile of a person. A forgery.”
  • „Tom, like the character in his story, had stepped inside a storm. He was drenched in it. I could destroy him. Maybe I already had. He had been ruled by fear for so long it had warped and twisted him into a dark copy of himself. He was turning into the wind, letting the rain hammer and shape him into something new.”
  • „People say that engineering a child in a lab separates creation from an act of love, but people say lots of stupid things. Babies are created from all manner of impulses. They are created in the backseats of cars, in bathroom stalls, up against alley walls, under bleachers, and in stairwells. They come from desire, lust, confusion, capitulation, revenge, even rage. Babies built in labs are the product of meticulous calculation. They come only at great cost— second jobs and second mortgages. They are built by committee. There are so many opportunities to turn back.”
  • „I’ve heard people call fertility treatment selfish, and that has never made sense. Children hijack your body, your money, your time, your privacy, your very identity. IVF is excellent preparation for parenthood, because the driving question at every turn is How much can you give?”
  • „We don’t yet understand all the ways biology shapes us. But having a child was not about creating someone in my own image. I wanted to help my daughter become the best version of herself, not another me. I had an image in my head, sure, of a dark- haired, blue- eyed, dirty- faced girl. But I hoped she would surprise me and challenge me. The real gift of creation is the thing that no one has ever seen before.”
  • „“It’s not her job to love me,” I said finally. “It’s my job to love her. That’s it.” I owed her an amazing father. I owed her my complete devotion and my best effort at a good example. I owed her the best genes I could find. She owed me nothing.”
  • „When Sam wasn’t looking, I wrote one of our favorite quotes on a little eraser board that hung on the door of his dorm room. It was from the first pages of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. „He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.””
  • „When the doctor used a catheter to insert the embryos, I held Kelley’s hand as I had held it through so many other procedures. Maybe that’s what being a husband was really about. Not paying the bills or taking out the trash or even making love. Maybe it was just about holding your wife’s hand.
  • „Our baby came swirling into view, week after week, on the grainy wedge of the ultrasound monitor. First a dark featureless pool, then a tiny orb, then budding arms and legs and finally long fingers and a recognizable profile. Everything had been so hard. Now the promise of our child unfolded easily.”
  • „I wanted our child to grow up confident and unafraid. I had always been a shy kid. I wanted to raise a leader and a thinker. If she kept hearing Be careful! Stop! Put that down! I worried that she would learn not to trust herself.”
  • „Lose the pregnancy. Pregnancy is a condition. A noun. Synonym: gestation. The baby was not the pregnancy. The baby was my daughter. Lose my daughter. She would slide out, wet, raw, mute, purple. Slide right out of my body in a river of my blood. She would not be lost at all, she would be right there, in my hands, turning gray.”
  • „“The statistics don’t matter,” he said, “until they happen to you.” What echoed in my head was something Dr. Germain never said: saving her might be the most selfish act in the world.
  • „When the nurses reached in to touch her, their hands looked giant. Her skin was papyrus, and beneath I could see the web of her veins, spidering up her arms and into her hands and her long anemone fingers. Everything about her declared that she still belonged inside her mother.”
  • „I took a deep breath, then slowly reached in with my left hand and placed the tip of my little finger in her right palm. At once she grabbed on. The power of her grip humbled me. Why was I so afraid, when she was so strong? I sat there, my shoulders heaving.”
  • „I was swept away. I saw her will, her beauty, all the possibilities waiting inside her. She was a work in progress, yes. So was I. “Hey, Peanut”, I whispered. “It’s Daddy.””
  • „I saw her plastic box halfway across the room. I didn’t see anything else, just this tunnel of space and time and of everything changing that marked the distance between us. Here I was one person, and there I would become someone else. The soap was hard to rinse, and I let the water run for a long time. Tom wheeled me forward. There, through the clear plastic, was my daughter. She was red and angular, angry like a fresh wound. She had a black eye and bruises on her body. Tubes snaked out of her mouth, her belly button, her hand. Wires moored her to monitors. Tape obscured her face. Her chin was long and narrow, her mouth agape because of the tubes. Dried blood crusted the corner of her mouth and the top of her diaper. The diaper was smaller than a playing card, and it swallowed her. She had no body fat, so she resembled a shrunken old man, missing his teeth. Her skin was nearly translucent, and through her chest I could see the beat of her flickering heart. She kicked and jerked. She stretched her arms wide, palms open, as if in welcome or surrender. I recognized her. I knew the shape of her head and the curve of her butt. I knew the strength of her kick. I knew how she had fit inside me and felt an acute sensation that she had been cut out, and of how wrong that was. I would do anything to put her back inside, to keep her safe. “Hello, baby. “It’s Mommy.”
  • „She was alien and familiar. She was terrifying and beautiful. She was complete and interrupted. I felt the icy hush that comes with looking at a secret you are not meant to see. I was peeking into God’s pocket.”
  • „Daughter. The word was so unfamiliar it caught in my throat.”
  • „The NICU was a technological triumph. Science had made life possible at earlier and earlier stages of development, but inside those possibilities, terrible bargains were made. Medicine, ambition, compassion, and common sense collided here every day.”
  • „Our baby was born at a unique window of time, at twenty-three weeks and six days gestation. She was an averted miscarriage, not yet fully her own person with her own standing. Because the questions were so unanswerable, the decision to put her on life support and allow her a chance to live had belonged to Tom and me, not the doctors and not the state. This place was a frontier. Between life and death, certainly, but also between right and wrong, and between who we used to be and who we were becoming.”
  • „The financial specialist was sweet and calm, but when we sat down at her desk, I gripped Tom’s arm. I knew that medical disasters like this cost people their homes, their careers, their retirements, their marriages. I was paralyzed by the fear that if our daughter lived, she’d come home to a ruin of the family that had created her. This was before Obamacare, and most insurance plans, including the one at the newspaper, had lifetime caps.”
  • „I pushed on, trying not to think about the hospital. But when I came to the baking aisle, my hand reached for a small bag of sugar. I placed it in my palm, lifting it up and down, gauging the lightness of it. One pound was nothing. One pound could be poured away in an instant. The other shoppers pushed their carts around me, pretending they did not see the strange man crying over the sugar.”
  • „And although there was no rule against talking with other parents, the idea of it felt awkward. They were encased so tightly in their own sorrows that they seemed out of reach. It was like riding a crowded subway in New York. We were all on top of one another but exiled in our own worlds.”
  • „You’re pathetic. It would be simplistic to say I felt like a dairy cow. Dairy cows produced milk. I had failed. I’d failed to conceive, failed to carry a baby to term, now I was failing to feed my barely formed daughter. If I were livestock, I’d be culled from the herd.”
  • „Most of the tiniest babies in the NICU don’t die on their own. They are babies who would have died without intervention. So here, they die by decision. They are taken off life support by agreement of their parents and doctors, when the suffering becomes too great and the prognosis becomes too grim.”
  • „There’s a phrase in neonatology: “waiting to declare.” Doctors say they stabilize the baby at birth and then wait for them to declare themselves—their intentions and their will—by either improving or deteriorating.”
  • „Juniper was no longer a fetus. She had crossed into personhood. We had seen her and touched her and loved her. Day by day she cemented her stake in the world. We were still waiting for her to declare, but it was becoming harder and harder to turn back.”
  • „I understood now that we were stuck inside a limbo where each moment was suspended between life and no life, everything and nothing.”
  • „Tracy was around more and more. She never announced it, but we realized she’d decided to be our primary nurse after all. In her voice I heard a trace of a Hoosier accent. I had known and admired girls like her in high school—smart girls used to driving fast on back roads that cut through cornfields, armored in an unwavering sense of right and wrong, afraid of nothing and no one, with sharp tongues that could slice you in half if you got fresh, and not a lick of patience for anyone who put on airs. In my experience, these girls grew into women who quietly ran the world.”
  • „It’s too easy for fathers to feel wedged out of their children’s lives. From pregnancy onward, the mother exists at the center of the universe, her body an ocean of safety, nourishment, comfort. Fathers can rub the mother’s feet and make sure she eats and drive her to the doctor, but we are marooned from the baby. We direct our voice toward the mom’s swelling belly and hope that whoever is inside will hear some garbled version of our words, mixing with the sound track of the mother’s heartbeat and breath. When the child is born, she still believes she and her mother are one. The mother is a continent of completion. Her gravity is unbreakable.”
  • „All Juniper knew was the long night into which she had been born. That darkness was the entirety of her world, and it would have been easy for her to believe there was nothing beyond it. I could not understand what it was inside this child, this notion of a girl, that made her keep going. „
  • „What more could I do to connect with a little girl who couldn’t see or eat or scream? How do you parent a baby in a plastic box?”
  • „“They don’t listen to your words,” Ana Maria explained. “They listen to your feelings.” She was a Preemie Whisperer.”
  • „It really did feel like I was whole again. I could forget the wires, the monitors, the tubes and bandages, the alarms, the other babies, the swirl of science and of statistics and probability and loss. I was holding my baby girl. She was wearing a pink hat. Her hands were curled under her chin. She seemed content. She could feel my heart. She was warm under my hand. She was the same little girl who had squirmed inside my body. The one I’d pleaded with on the bathroom floor. The one who had been ripped away. We needed each other. Here was a thing I could do.”
  • „She was so bony and so light. Like a baby bird, I thought. I breathed for both of us.”
  • „“Junebug,” he said, “is here only because of you. If you’re not the most ferocious mother on the planet, you tell me who is.””
  • „Now I understood why Kelley had found it so difficult these past weeks to enter this place. She had been facing the truth, and I had been hiding from it. Somehow I had convinced myself that I was being brave, but I’d only been playing a more subtle version of make-believe.”
  • „Some of the greatest moments of my life had been tucked inside this misery. Memorizing her face. Holding her hand. Feeling her warm and weightless form on my chest. Reading her a story. Writing “Mom” on a consent form. Every act, no matter how mundane, affirmed that this child belonged to me, that I belonged to her. If those moments were not so precious, there would be no terror, no cruelty, in seeing them snatched away. “She’s my daughter,” Tom said. “I wouldn’t change any of it.””
  • „But I didn’t care about work, which had once defined and guided me. I didn’t care about food, or breath, or sex, or the dog, or money, or myself. The baby, this hint of a girl, shut out all the rest. I had never heard her voice or seen her smile, but I knew her better than I knew my own terrible, conflicted heart.”
  • „Our badges meant our child was not leaving. We belonged in a place we wanted to flee.”
  • „“A story is a promise,” Tom had told me. “It’s a promise that the end is worth waiting for.””
  • „But we were shattered versions of ourselves, handicapped by sleep deprivation and panic.”
  • „That night, I read to her from Tina Fey’s book, the chapter she writes as a prayer for her daughter. May she grow up beautiful but not damaged; may the Lord lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance; may she play drums, with her own power and rhythm, so she need not lie with drummers. The prayer took on an extra measure of faith there in that darkened room.”
  • „One afternoon I walked in and she was holding our baby and singing “Folsom Prison Blues,” telling Junebug that she had shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. I didn’t think it was possible to love someone as much as I loved my wife at that moment.”
  • „I didn’t feel anything as slight as happiness. I didn’t feel euphoria or joy or any emotion so fleeting or pure. I felt complete. I felt full. I felt okay. We were okay, right now. I would have this moment forever, no matter what came next.”
  • „Sitting for so long in that darkness, I thought a great deal about God and what that word meant to me. I had no use for the version the nuns had tried to sell me during catechism. The bearded sage, condemning people to eternal fire? He sounded like an embittered old man, boarded up in his house at the end of the road, living out of coffee cans, spitting out curses at all those who had disagreed with him. As best I could tell, God was not an entity at all, but a force gathered inside anything and everything that had meaning. When I saw my daughter’s hand, gripping her mother’s finger, I believed in God. When I sang to my child the sweet and raucous songs that had shaped me, that was my way of praying. When I escaped with Junebug inside a children’s book where her brothers’ younger selves lived on, we were all taking communion together.”
  • „“The world consists of the tension between order and chaos,” a mathematician had once told the New York Times.”
  • „In the darkness of Junebug’s room and in the light of everything beyond, stories were my best defense against randomness. If the world was defined by the tension between order and chaos, then our lives unfolded in perpetual countercurrents of meaning and meaninglessness. I saw it whenever I walked into the NICU, where the alarms were constantly sounding. The songs we sang, the books we read—all of them helped keep our family afloat. They calmed us, inspired us, helped us hang on through the long months of not knowing how our daughter’s story would end. Every time we opened to another page of Harry Potter, the story transported us into other lives and other experiences that echoed our own. They helped the three of us imagine a future after the hospital. They told our daughter she was not alone.”
  • „She knew that hardware was no substitute for a mom’s intuition. She knew I needed to figure out how to harness that intuition and to trust it. She knew I needed to learn to parent with no one watching. She walked out. I wish I could remember what I said to Juniper then. I wish I could remember that candles had appeared, and soft music played, and the lights dimmed, and I rocked her and bathed her and she stared dreamily into my eyes, and I was the mom I’d always imagined I could be. I think what really happened is that Juniper was incredibly slippery, and she kept sliding down into the shallow water, and I tried to sort of wipe her down with some gauze pads, and I wished someone would give me some grippy gloves, because what if she came this far only to be drowned by her mother in a plastic bathtub, and I must have sung her the John Prine song, the one I always sang to help her understand that the curves that flew at her in the NICU—the hard corners, the precipitous free falls, the long, grinding climbs—were pretty much the same as the ones that awaited her in life. It’s a half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown That’s the way that the world goes ’round None of this had unfolded as I would have scripted it. But I couldn’t say it had all been bad. If we made it out of here intact, I would have to admit that this place had performed a mysterious alchemy on me. I’d do anything to spare Juniper the experience she’d been dealt, but for myself, I wouldn’t change a day. I’d reconsidered every one of my values and emerged entirely reassembled. I would probably never do anything in my life as heroic as the things Tracy did in a single day. I would never have the impact of Dr. Shakeel. I had absorbed the lesson, clichéd though it may be, that it is the tiny choices we make moment to moment that determine who we are. It is, as Tom had said all along, about paying attention.”
  • „My stepson Sam had once taught me a technique handed down from a high school drama teacher. “Explode the moment,” the teacher would say. It meant that every second onstage is pregnant with motive, action, tension, and purpose, and the actor needs to inhabit those moments fully and convey all of it to the audience. I’d adapted that advice for my writing students, trying to show them how to find meaning in a gesture or a glance and commit it to the page. In the NICU, we’d been forced to explode each moment as though it were the last we might ever have. I never wanted to go back to the sleepwalker I’d been before.”
  • „I told my daughter she didn’t need to find a bad boy to tame; what she needed was a good boy with a bit of an edge. Somebody with a brain, somebody who woke up in the morning with a plan. Avoid any guy swinging nunchucks in front of a Bruce Lee poster, I told her.”
  • „“Love is the miracle,” he said. “The miracle is just that we are capable of loving each other. That’s it.” Of course that was it. It was all a cliché, and it was all beautiful and true. Every day with Juniper had been a miracle. She’d remade our world. I was a mother now. I knew what that meant. It was not a child’s imagining anymore.”
  • „”To Juniper, we ask your forgiveness if the spotlight ever burns, and for all the days you cried because we had to work on the book. When you get big, we hope you’ll read this and know how hard you fought, and how much you were loved, and we hope you will be happy at us.””

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Citate din carte:

  • “There are scars on my heart, just as thick, as disfiguring as those on my face. I know they’re there. I hope some undamaged tissue remains, a patch through which love can come in and flow out. I hope.”
  • “Did men ever look in the mirror, I wondered, and find themselves wanting in deeply fundamental ways? When they opened a newspaper or watched a film, were they presented with nothing but exceptionally handsome young men, and did this make them feel intimidated, inferior, because they were not as young, not as handsome? Did they then read newspaper articles ridiculing those same handsome men if they gained weight or wore something unflattering?”
  • “The streets were all named after poets – Wordsworth Lane, Shelley Close, Keats Rise – no doubt chosen by the building company’s marketing department. They were all poets that the kind of person who’d aspire to own such a home would recognize, poets who wrote about urns and flowers and wandering clouds. Based on past experience, I’d be more likely to end up living in Dante Lane or Poe Crescent.”
  • „Titles were better, though. I didn’t know her from Adam, after all. She wasn’t my friend, she was someone who was being paid to interact with me. A bit of professional distance is highly appropriate, I feel, when, for example, a stranger is examining the back of your eyeballs for tumours, or rooting around in your dentine with a hooked instrument. Or, indeed, poking around in your brain, dragging out your feelings and letting them sit there in the room, in all their shameful awfulness.”
  • “No thank you,” I said. “I don’t want to accept a drink from you, because then I would be obliged to purchase one for you in return, and I’m afraid I’m simply not interested in spending two drinks’ worth of time with you.”
  • “Some people, weak people, fear solitude. What they fail to understand is that there’s something very liberating about it; once you realize that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself. That’s the thing: it’s best just to take care of yourself.”
  • “But, by careful observation from the sidelines, I’d worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don’t find very funny, do things they don’t particularly want to, with people whose company they don’t particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I’d fly solo. It was safer that way.”
  • „Grief is the price we pay for love, so they say. The price is far too high.”
  • “These days, loneliness is the new cancer—a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”
  • “I have often noticed that people who routinely wear sportswear are the least likely sort to participate in athletic activity.”
  • “I was a human woman, no more and no less.”
  • “People don’t like these facts, but I can’t help that. If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
  • “The moment hung in time like a drop of honey from a spoon, heavy, golden.”
  • “Was this how it worked, then, successful social integration? Was it really that simple? Wear some lipstick, go to the hairdressers and alternate the clothes you wear?”
  • “In principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder.”
  • “Your voice changes when you’re smiling, it alters the sound somehow.”
  • “Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are.”
  • “Time only blunts the pain of loss. It doesn’t erase it.”
  • “Obscenity is the distinguishing hallmark of a sadly limited vocabulary.”
  • “It often feels as if I’m not here, that I’m a figment of my own imagination. There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock. The threads tighten slightly from Monday to Friday.”
  • “When you’re struggling hard to manage your own emotions, it becomes unbearable to have to witness other people’s, to have to try and manage theirs too.”
  • “When the silence and the aloneness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”
  • “I find lateness exceptionally rude; it’s so disrespectful, implying unambiguously that you consider yourself and your own time to be so much more valuable than the other person’s.”
  • “I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already slipping away, ephemeral. That must be difficult. Always having to prove that there’s more to you, wanting people to see beneath the surface, to be loved for yourself, and not your stunning body, sparkling eyes or thick, lustrous hair. In most professions, getting older means getting better at your job, earning respect because of your seniority and experience. If your job depends on your looks, the opposite is true—how depressing. Suffering other people’s unkindness must be difficult too; all those bitter, less attractive people, jealous and resentful of your beauty. That’s incredibly unfair of them. After all, beautiful people didn’t ask to be born that way. It’s as unfair to dislike someone because they’re attractive as it is to dislike someone because of a deformity.”
  • “I suppose one of the reasons we’re all able to continue to exist for our allotted span in this green and blue vale of tears is that there is always, however remote it might seem, the possibility of change.”
  • “I felt like a newly laid egg, all swishy and gloopy inside, and so fragile that the slightest pressure could break me.”
  • “I was in a fast-food restaurant for the first time in my adult life, an enormous and garish place just around the corner from the music venue. It was mystifyingly, inexplicably busy. I wondered why humans would willingly queue at a counter to request processed food, then carry it to a table which was not even set, and then eat it from the paper? Afterward, despite having paid for it, the customer themselves are responsible for clearing away the detritus. Very strange.”
  • “There have been times when I felt that I might die of loneliness. People sometimes say they might die of boredom, that they’re dying for a cup of tea, but for me, dying of loneliness is not a hyperbole. When I feel like that, my head drops and my shoulders slump and I ache, I physically ache, for human contact – I truly feel that I might tumble to the ground and pass away if someone doesn’t hold me, touch me. I don’t mean a lover – this recent madness aside, I had long since given up on any notion that another person might love me that way – but simply a human being. The scalp massage at the hairdresser, the flu jab I had last winter – the only time I experience touch is from people whom I am paying, and they are almost wearing disposable gloves at the time. I’m merely stating the facts.”
  • “Noticing details, that was good. Tiny slivers of life–they all added up and helped you to feel that you too could be a fragment, a little piece of humanity who usefully filled a space, however minuscule.”
  • “But it’s still love: animals, people. It’s unconditional, and it’s both the easiest and the hardest thing in the world.”
  • “Life is all about taking decisive action, darling. Whatever you want to do, do it— whatever you want to take, grab it. Whatever you want to bring to an end, END IT. And live with the consequences.”
  • “Eyelids are really just flesh curtains. Your eyes are always ‘on’, always looking; when you close them, you’re watching the thin, veined skin of your inner eyelid rather than staring out at the world.”
  • “I could not solve the puzzle of me.”
  • “She certainly seems to have a life, not just an existence.”
  • “I realized what I felt . . . happy. It was such a strange, unusual feeling—light, calm, as though I’d swallowed sunshine.”
  • “Sport is a mystery to me. In primary school, sports day was the one day of the year when the less academically gifted students could triumph, winning prizes for jumping fastest in a sack, or running from Point A to Point B more quickly than their classmates. How they loved to wear those badges on their blazers the next day! As if a silver in the egg-and-spoon race was some sort of compensation for not understanding how to use an apostrophe.”
  • “What, I wondered, was the point of me? I contributed nothing to the world, absolutely nothing, and I took nothing from it either. When I ceased to exist, it would make no material difference to anyone. Most people’s absence from the world would be felt on a personal level by at least a handful of people. I, however, had no one. I do not light up a room when I walk into it. No one longs to see me or to hear my voice.”
  • “I understood that assisted conception was the antithesis of careless, spontaneous or unplanned parenthood, that it was the most deliberate of decisions, undertaken only by women who were serious and dedicated in their quest to be mothers.”
  • “A human hand was exactly the right weight, exactly the right temperature for touching another person, I realized.”
  • “once you realize that you don’t need anyone, you can take care of yourself. That’s the thing: it’s best just to take care of yourself. You can’t protect other people, however hard you try. You try, and you fail, and your world collapses around you, burns down to ashes.”
  • “There was no hope, things couldn’t be put right. I couldn’t be put right. The past could neither be escaped nor undone.”

Fata cu portocale – Jostein Gaarder

CITATE DIN CARTE:

  • „Poate ca ar trebui sa ne fie interzis sa ne uitam la o caseta video cu cineva care a disparut, cu cineva care nu mai este printre noi, asa spune bunica. Nu mi se pare corect sa-i spionezi pe cei care au murit.”
  • „El a scris Fata cu portocale pentru ca eu sa o citesc cand voi destul de mare ca sa o inteleg. A scris o scrisoare cu destinatia in viitor. (…) A fost scrisa pentru un baiat numit Georg, de doisprezece-paisprezece ani, adica un baiat pe care tata nu-l intalnise inca si pe care probabil ca nici nu va avea vreodata ocazia sa-l cunoasca.”
  • „Stiu doar cine esti. Nici nu stiu cati ani ai atunci cand citesti paginile acestea. Poate ai doisprezece ani, poate ai paisprezece ani si eu, tatal tau, de mult am iesit in afara timpului.”
  • „Adevarul este ca deja ma simt ca o fantoma si trebuie sa-mi trag rasuflarea de cate ori ma gandesc la asta. Am inceput sa inteleg de ce fantomele se tanguie si suspina ca vantul pe timp de furtuna. Nu fac asta pentru a-si inspaimanta urmasii, ci pentru ca le doare cumplit sa respire intr-un alt timp decat timpul lor propriu. Noi nu avem doar un spatiu in care ni s-a dat s atraim. Avem si un timp al vietii noastre.”
  • „Deseori batranii au impresis ca au mai mult timp decat copiii care au toata viata inaintea lor.”
  • „Eu nu mai am nevoie să văd și să trăiesc mai mult decât am văzut și am trăit până acum. Îmi doresc foarte mult să pot păstra ceea ce am. Dar bantuie hotii, Georg. Musafiri nepoftiti au inceput sa-mi fure forta vitala.”
  • „Numai bolile usoare fac pacientul sa cada repede la pat. De regula, o boala rea are nevoie de mult timp inainte sa te dea peste cap si sa dea cu tine de pamant pentru totdeauna.”
  • „Asa ca exista doua timpuri in aceasta contabilitate a noastra, ori in aceasta ultima intalnire dintre noi doi. Este ca si cum am sta fiecare pe varful lui de munte invaluit in ceata si am incerca sa ne zarim unul pe celalalt. Intre noi se afla o vale a fagaduintei pe care tu tocmai ai lasat-o in spate pe drumul vietii tale, dar eu nu voi mai trai sa vad aceasta.”
  • „Mi-a zâmbit cald și acel zâmbet, Georg, putea să topească întreaga lume, căci dacă lumea l-ar fi văzut, ar fi avut puterea sa opreasca toate războaiele și toate dușmăniile de pe întreaga planetă; în orice caz s-ar fi încheiat îndelungate armistiții.”
  • „Traisem o clipa de mister savuros cu care ma puteam hrani luni de zile.”
  • „(…)Beethoven a atins atat inaltimile divinului, cat si abisurile infernului.”
  • „Totuși, unele fete nu sunt în stare să vadă Universul din cauza machiajului de la ochi. Poate și unii băieți nu sunt în stare să arunce o privire deasupra orizontului din cauza fotbalului. Este oricum o bucată bună de mers de la mica oglinda de machiaj până la oglinda unui telescop.”
  • „Sunt la originea timpului, am naufragiat la obârșia tuturor timpurilor. Îmi vine în minte un vers al poetului danez Piet Hein: Cel ce nu trăiește clipa, nu trăiește niciodată. Dar tu, tu ce faci?”
  • „In acea mana clocotea un elixir magic de senzatii agreabile.”
  • „Jocul vioi al vietii nu lasa loc pentru amintiri si reflectii, este prea ocupat de sine.”
  • „Ea nu spune nimic, ci doar imi strange mana mai afectuos si mai puternic – ca si cum am pluti impreuna in imponderabilitate prin spatiul cosmic, ca si cum am fi baut lapte galactic pe saturate si tot Universul ar fi fost al nostru.”
  • „Pot astepta pana cand inima imi va sangera de tristete. (…) Si asta ce inseamna? (…) Poate doar cinci minute.”
  • „Aerul este insa saturat de forta destinului.”
  • „Asemanarea dintre ziaristi si parinti este ca sunt la fel de curiosi, iar asemanarea intre politicieni si copii este ca tot timpul sunt asaltati cu intrebari delicate la care nu este intotdeauna usor de raspuns.”
  • „Este greu sa-ti descrii propria mama. mai ales in ceea ce priveste calitatile si defectele. (…) Daca ar fi sa descriu in doua cuvinte calitatea cea mai evidenta a mamei, as spune buna dispozitie. Dar ar trebui mentionat ca defectul ei cel mai suparator este proasta dispozitie. Nu se intampla prea des ca mama sa se situeze intre aceste doua extreme.”
  • „Intelegerea solemna dintre noi doi era extrem de simplu de inteles, dar extrem de greu de respectat. Toate poveștile au însă regulile lor proprii și poate că tocmai regulile deosebesc o poveste de alta. Nu trebuie neapărat să înțelegi aceste reguli. Trebuie doar să le respecți. În caz contrar, nu se îndeplinesc promisiunile!”
  • „Caci cine suntem noi cei care traim aici? Fiecare om din aceasta piata era ca un cufar viu de comori plin de ganduri si amintiri, visuri si nazuinte.”
  • „Daca doua persoane nu fac altceva decat sa se caute, unul pe celalalt, nu este de mirare daca se intalnesc cu totul intamplator.”
  • „Cred că două priviri care se întâlnesc statornic, pentru totdeauna, care pur și simplu refuză să se despartă, crează o intimitate specială, fără egal.”
  • „Cum aș putea recunoaște după atâta timp o micuță larvă care s-a preschimbat într-un fluture?
  • „Mi s-a părut mai greu să te prind pe tine decât să prind un fluture cu mâna. Și eu fac parte din această aventură. Bineînțeles că nu sunt doar un fluture care așteaptă ca tu să-l prinzi.”
  • „Nu este totdeauna ușor să găsești o anumită persoană într-un oraș mare, și în orice caz nu este ușor să o întâlnești așa, ca din întâmplare, dacă asta îți dorești. Uneori îți dorești exact acest lucru.”
  • „La urma urmei, nu poți controla trecutul meu, Jan Olav, și nici eu pe al tău. Întrebarea este dacă avem un viitor împreună.”
  • „Dacă tot ceea ce s-a întâmplat în istoria Universului ar fi comprimat în douăzeci și patru de ore, Pământul nu ar fi apărut decât târziu după-amiaza, dinozaurii ar fi venit câteva minute înainte de miezul nopții, iar omenirea ar fi existat doar în ultimele secunde…”
  • „Când folosim pronumele ,,noi” așezăm două persoane în spatele unei acțiuni comune ca și cum ar alcătui o singură ființă. Pentru mine folosirea noului pronume a venit ca un șoc. ,,Noi” – era ca și cum un cerc s-ar fi închis. Era ca și cum întreaga lume s-ar fi contopit într-o entitate mai înaltă.”
  • „Dar ce este omul, Georg? Cât valorează o ființă omenească? Suntem noi doar țărână luată de vânt și spulberată în cele patru zări?”
  • „Tot ceea ce există durează doar până când se sfârșește. Ceea ce ține omul pentru ultima dată este de cele mai multe ori o mână.”
  • „Aceasta este viața de zi cu zi, m-am gândit. Aceasta este realitatea. Dar ușa care duce dincolo de realitate este larg deschisă.”
  • „Ești un miracol viu. (…) Erai un înger în carne și oase, viu și strălucitor.”
  • „Uneori este mai rău pentru noi, oamenii, să pierdem ceva drag, decât să nu-l fi avut niciodată.”
  • „Refuz această excursie iute ca fulgerul, cu tema ,,să cunoaștem viața pe Pământ”.”
  • „Era un mare visător, un creator de mituri și legende…”
  • „Când mintea îți este plină de gânduri serioase, poți spune doar câteva cuvinte sau poți păstra tăcerea.”
  • ,,Suntem în lume doar o singură dată”, a scris tata. (…) Viața este scurtă pentru toți cei care reușesc să înțeleagă că într-o bună zi întreaga lume se isprăvește de tot.”
  • „Nu pierd doar lumea și nu pierd tot și toate care îmi sunt dragi. Mă pierd pe mine însumi. Una-două, am dispărut!”

The Course of Love – Alain de Botton

CITATE DIN CARTE:

  • „The Romantic faith must always have existed, but only in the past few centuries has it been judged anything more than an illness; only recently has the search for a soulmate been allowed to take on the status of something close to the purpose of life. An idealism previously directed at gods and spirits has been rerouted towards human subjects – an ostensibly generous gesture nevertheless freighted with forbidding and brittle consequences, since it is no simple thing for any human being to honour over a lifetime the perfections he or she might have hinted at to an imaginative observer in the street, the office or the adjoining aeroplane seat.”
  • „A person cannot be at once a libertine and a married Romantic, however compelling both paradigms might be.”
  • „We start off in childhood believing parents might have access to a superior kind of knowledge and experience. They look, for a while, astonishingly competent. Our exaggerated esteem is touching, but also intensely problematic, for it sets them up as the ultimate objects of blame when we gradually discover that they are flawed, sometimes unkind, in areas ignorant and utterly unable to save us from certain troubles. It can take a while, until the fourth decade or the final hospital scenes, for a more forgiving stance to emerge. Their new condition, frail and frightened, reveals in a compellingly physical way something which has always been true psychologically: that they are uncertain vulnerable creatures motivated more by anxiety, fear, a clumsy love and unconscious compulsions than by godlike wisdom and moral clarity – and cannot, therefore, forever be held responsible for either their own shortcomings or our many disappointments.”
  • „Romantic idea of love: he has found the right person; he has opened his heart to her; and he has been accepted. But he is, of course, nowhere yet. He and Kirsten will marry, they will suffer, they will frequently worry about money, they will have a girl first, then a boy, one of them will have an affair, there will be passages of boredom, they’ll sometimes want to murder one another and on a few occasions to kill themselves. This will be the real love story.”
  • „The Romantic vision of marriage stresses the importance of finding the “right” person, which is taken to mean someone in sympathy with the raft of our interests and values. There is no such person over the long term. We are too varied and peculiar. There cannot be lasting congruence. The partner truly best suited to us is not the one who miraculously happens to share every taste but the one who can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and good grace.    Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate dissimilarity that is the true marker of the “right” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.”
  • „He will need to learn that love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm.”
  • „We too often act from scripts generated by the crises of long ago that we’ve all but consciously forgotten. We behave according to an archaic logic which now escapes us, following a meaning we can’t properly lay bare to those we depend on most. We may struggle to know which period of our lives we are really in, with whom we are truly dealing and what sort of behaviour the person before us is rightfully owed. WE can be a little tricky to be around.”
  • „The start receives such disproportionate attention because it isn’t deemed to be just one phase among many; for the Romantic, it contains in concentrated form everything significant about love as a whole. Which is why in so many love stories there is simply nothing else for the narrator to do with a couple after they have triumphed over a range of initial obstacles other than to consign them to an ill-defined contented future – or kill them off. What we typically call love is only the start of love.”
  • „The stories of relationships maintained over decades, without obvious calamity or bliss, remain – fascinatingly and worryingly – the exceptions among the narratives we dare to tell ourselves about love’s progress.”
  • „Love stories begin not when we fear someone may be unwilling to see us again, but when they decide they would have no objection to seeing us all the time; not when they have every opportunity to run away, but when they have exchanged solemn vows promising to hold us, and be held captive by us, for life. Our understanding of love has been hijacked and beguiled by its first distractingly moving moments. We have allowed our love stories to end way too early. We seem to know far too much about how love starts, and recklessly little about how it might continue.”
  • „Marriage, to Rabih, feels like the high point of a daring path to total intimacy; proposing has all the passionate allure of shutting one’s eyes and jumping off a steep cliff, wishing and trusting that the other will be there to catch one.”
  • „Love means admiration for qualities in the lover that promise to correct our weaknesses and imbalances; love is a search for completion.”
  • „Love is also, and equally, about weakness, about being touched by another’s fragilities and sorrows, especially when (as happens in the early days) we ourselves are in no danger of being held responsible for them. Seeing our lover despondent and in crisis, in tears and unable to cope, can reassure us that, for all their virtues, they are not alienatingly invincible. They, too, are at points confused and at sea, a realization which lends us a new supportive role, reduces our sense of shame about our own inadequacies and draws us closer to each other around a shared experience of pain.”
  • „The terms avoidant and anxious are hardly typical in a love story, but if Romantic is taken to mean “helpful to the progress of love,” then they turn out to be among the most romantic words Kirsten and Rabih will ever stumble upon, for they enable them to grasp patterns that have been destructively at work between them every day of their married lives.”
  • „The partner truly best suited to us is not the one who miraculously happens to share every taste, but the one who can negotiate differences in taste with intelligence and grace.”
  • „We don’t need to be constantly reasonable in order to have good relationships; all we need to have mastered is the occasional capacity to acknowledge with good grace that we may, in one or two areas, be somewhat insane.”
  • „Cynics are merely idealists with unusually high standards.”
  • „Few in this world are ever simply nasty; those who hurt us are themselves in pain. The appropriate response is hence never cynicism nor aggression but, at the rare moments one can manage it, always love.”
  • „Marriage: a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully omitted to investigate.”
  • „A marriage doesn’t begin with a proposal, or even an initial meeting. It begins far earlier, when the idea of love is born, and more specifically the dream of a soul mate.”
  • „There is no one more likely to destroy us than the person we marry.”
  • „In an ideal world, marriage vows would be entirely rewritten. At the altar, a couple would speak thus: „We accept not to panic when, some years from now, what we are doing today will seem like the worst decision of our lives. Yet we promise not to look around, either, fro we accept that there cannot be better options out there. Everyone is always impossible. We are a demented species.  After the solemn repetition of the last sentence by the congregation, the couple would continue: „We will endeavor to be faithful. At the same time, we are certain that never being allowed to sleep with anyone else is one of the tragedies of existence. We apologize that our jealousies have made this peculiar but sound and non-negotiable restriction very necessary. We promise to make each other the sole repository of our regrets rather than distribute them through a life of sexual Don Juanism. We have surveyed the different options for unhappiness, and it is to each other we have chosen to bind ourselves.” Spouses who had been cheated upon would no longer be at liberty furiously to complain that they had expected their partner to be content with them alone. Instead they could more poignantly and justly cry, „I was relying on you to be loyal to the specific variety of compromise and unhappiness which our hard-won marriage represents.”  Thereafter, an affair would be a betrayal not of intimate joy but of a reciprocal pledge to endure the disappointments of marriage with bravery and stoic reserve.”
  • „It’s not just children who are childlike. Adults, too, are – beneath the bluster – intermittently playful, silly, fanciful, vulnerable, hysterical, terrified, and pitiful and in search of consolation and forgiveness.  We’re well versed at seeing the sweet and the fragile in children and offering them help and comfort accordingly. Around them, we know how to put aside the worst of our compulsions, vindictiveness and fury. We can recalibrate our expectations and demand a little less than we normally do; we’re slower to anger and a bit more aware of unrealised potential. We readily treat children with a degree of kindness that we are oddly and woefully reluctant to show to our peers.  It is a wonderful thing to live in a world where so many people are nice to children. It would be even better if we lived in one where we were a little nicer to the childlike sides of one another.”
  • „We take this idea of love with us into adulthood. Grown up, we hope for a re-creation of what it felt like to be ministered to and indulged. In a secret corner of our mind, we picture a lover who will anticipate our needs, read our hearts, act selflessly and make everything better. It sounds ‘romantic’; yet it is a blueprint for disaster.”
  • „At the heart of sulk lies a confusing mixture of intense anger and an equally intense desire not to communicate what one is angry about. The sulker both desperately needs the other person to understand and yet remains utterly committed to doing nothing to help them do so. The very need to explain forms the kernel of the insult: if the partner requires an explanation, he or she is clearly not worth of one. We should add that it is a privilege to be the recipient of a sulk: it means the other person respects and trusts us enough to think we should understand their unspoken hurt. It is one of the odder gifts of love”
  • „We do our sulking lovers the greatest possible favor when we are able to regard their tantrums as we would those of an infant. We are so alive to the idea that it’s patronizing to be thought of as younger than we are; we forget that it is also, at times, the greatest privilege for someone to look beyond our adult self in order to engage with—and forgive—the disappointed, furious, inarticulate child within.”
  • „Pronouncing a lover “perfect” can only be a sign that we have failed to understand them. We can claim to have begun to know someone only when they have substantially disappointed us.”
  • „Why, then, the peculiar and somehow outsized response? The behavior makes little sense when one tries to understand it according to the current facts. It’s as if some aspect of the present scenario were drawing energy from another source, as if it were unwittingly triggering a pattern of behavior that the other person originally developed long ago in order to meet a particular threat which has now somehow been subconsciously re-evoked. The overreactor is responsible, as the psychological term puts it, for the “transference” of an emotion from the past onto someone in the present—who perhaps doesn’t entirely deserve it. Our minds are, oddly, not always good at knowing what era they are in. They jump a little too easily, like an erstwhile victim of burglary who keeps a gun by the bed and is startled awake by every rustle. What’s worse for the loved ones standing in the vicinity is that people in the throes of a transference have no easy way of knowing, let alone calmly explaining, what they are up to; they simply feel that their response is entirely appropriate to the occasion. Their partners on the other hand may reach a rather different and rather less flattering conclusion: that they are distinctly odd—and maybe even a little mad.”
  • „Taking trauma to be a primary route to growth and depth, Rabih wants his own sadness to find an echo in his partner’s character. He therefore doesn’t much mind, initially, that Kirsten is sometimes withdrawn and hard to read, or that she tends to seem aloof and defensive in the extreme after they’ve had an argument. He entertains a confused wish to help her without, however, understanding that help can be a challenging gift to deliver to those who are most in need of it. He interprets her damaged aspects in the most obvious and most lyrical way: as a chance for him to play a useful role. We believe we are seeking happiness in love, but what we are really after is familiarity. We are looking to re-create, within our adult relationships, the very feelings we knew so well in childhood and which were rarely limited to just tenderness and care. The love most of us will have tasted early on came entwined with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his or her anger, or of not feeling secure enough to communicate our trickier wishes. How logical, then, that we should as adults find ourselves rejecting certain candidates not because they are wrong but because they are a little too right—in the sense of seeming somehow excessively balanced, mature, understanding, and reliable—given that, in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign and unearnt. We chase after more exciting others, not in the belief that life with them will be more harmonious, but out of an unconscious sense that it will be reassuringly familiar in its patterns of frustration.”
  • „The particulars of what arouses us may sound odd and illogical, but—seen from close up—they carry echoes of qualities we long for in other, purportedly saner areas of existence: understanding, sympathy, trust, unity, generosity, and kindness. Beneath many erotic triggers lie symbolic solutions to some of our greatest fears, and poignant allusions to our yearnings for friendship and understanding.”
  • „He will surmise that love can endure only when one is unfaithful to its beguiling opening ambitions, and that, for his relationships to work, he will need to give up on the feelings that got him into them in the first place. He will need to learn that love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm.”
  • „Children may end up being the unexpected teachers of people many times their age, to whom they offer—through their exhaustive dependence, egoism, and vulnerability—an advanced education in a wholly new sort of love, one in which reciprocation is never jealously demanded or fractiously regretted and in which the true goal is nothing less than the transcendence of oneself for the sake of another.”
  • „It is precisely when we hear little from our partner which frightens, shocks or sickens us that we should begin to be concerned, for this may be the surest sign that we are being gently lied to or shielded from the other’s imagination, whether out of kindness or from a touching fear of losing our love. It may mean that we have, despite ourselves, shut our ears to information that fails to conform to our hopes, hopes which will thereby be endangered all the time.”
  • „Although it often struggles to be heard in respectable circles, there is an alternative to the Christian-Romantic tenet that sex and love should always be inseparable. The libertine position denies any inherent or logical link between loving someone and needing to be unfailingly sexually loyal to them. It proposes that it can be entirely natural and even healthy for partners in a couple occasionally to have sex with strangers for whom they have little feeling but to whom they nonetheless feel strongly attracted. Sex doesn’t always have to be bound up with love. It can sometimes, this philosophy holds, be a purely physical, aerobic activity engaged in without substantive emotional meaning. It is, so its adherents conclude, just as absurd to suppose that one should only ever have sex with the person one loves as it would be to require that only those in committed couples ever be permitted to play table tennis or go jogging together. This remains, in the current age, the minority view by a very wide margin. „
  • „Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.”
  • „Sexiness might at first appear to be a merely physiological phenomenon, the result of awakened hormones and stimulated nerve endings. But in truth it is not so much about sensations as it is about ideas—foremost among them the idea of acceptance and the promise of an end to loneliness and shame.”
  • „Repression, a degree of restraint, and a little dedication to self-editing belong to love just as surely as a capacity for explicit confession.”
  • „The love of flowers is a consequence of modesty and an accommodation with disappointment… Held up against certain ideals of success, his life has been a deep disappointment. But he can also see that it is, in the end, no great achievement simply to fixate on the failure. There is valour in being able to identify a forgiving, hopeful perspective on one’s life, in knowing how to be a friend to oneself, because one has a responsibility to others to endure.”
  • „They are two people who need one another badly and yet are simultaneously terrified of letting on just how much they do so. Neither stays with an injury long enough truly to acknowledge or feel it, or to explain it to the person who inflicted it. It takes reserves of confidence they don’t possess to keep faith with the one who has offended them. They would need to trust the other sufficiently to make it clear that they aren’t really “angry” or “cold” but are instead, and always, something far more basic, touching, and deserving of affection: hurt.”
  • „Insomnia can, when it goes on for weeks, be hell. But in smaller doses – a night here and there – it doesn’t always need a cure. It may even be an asset, a help with some key troubles of the soul. Crucial insights that we need to convey to ourselves can often be received only at night, like city church bells that have to wait until dark to be heard.”
  • „Maturity means acknowledging that Romantic love might constitute only a narrow, and perhaps rather mean-minded, aspect of emotional life, one principally focused on a quest to find love rather than to give it; to be loved rather than to love.”
  • „Ordinary life rewards a practical, unintrospective outlook. There’s too little time and too much fear for anything else. We let ourselves be guided by an instinct for self-preservation: we push ourselves foward, strike back when we’re hit, turn the blame on to others, quell stray questions and cleave closely to a flattering image of where we’re headed. We have little option but to be relentlessly on our own side.  Only at those rare moments when the stars are out and nothing further will be needed from us till dawn can we loosen our hold on our ego for the sake of a more honest and less parochial perspective.”
  • „Choosing a person to marry is hence just a matter of deciding exactly what kind of suffering we want to endure rather than of assuming we have found a way to skirt the rules of emotional existence. We will all by definition end up with that stock character of our nightmares, ‘the wrong person.’ This needn’t be a disaster, however. Enlightened romantic pessimism simply assumes that one person can’t be everything ot another. We should look for ways to accommodate ourselves as gently and as kindly as we can to the awkward realities of living alongside another fallen creature. There can only ever be a ‘good enough’ marriage.”
  • „What makes people good communicators is, in essence, an ability not to be fazed by the more problematic or offbeat aspects of their own characters. They can contemplate their anger, their sexuality, and their unpopular, awkward, or unfashionable opinions without losing confidence or collapsing into self-disgust. They can speak clearly because they have managed to develop a priceless sense of their own acceptability. They like themselves well enough to believe that they are worthy of, and can win, the goodwill of others if only they have the wherewithal to present themselves with the right degree of patience and imagination.  As children, these good communicators must have been blessed with caregivers who knew how to love their charges without demanding that every last thing about them be agreeable and perfect. Such parents would have been able to live with the idea that their offspring might sometimes—for a while, at least—be odd, violent, angry, mean, peculiar, or sad, and yet still deserve a place within the circle of familial love.”
  • „Good listeners are no less rare or important than good communicators. Here, too, an unusual degree of confidence is the key – a capacity not to be thrown off course by, or buckle under the weight of, information that may deeply challenge certain settled assumptions. Good listeners are unfussy about the chaos which others may for a time create in their minds; they’ve been there before and know that everything can eventually be set back in its place.”
  • „The modern expectation is that there will be equality in all things in the couple—which means, at heart, an equality of suffering. But calibrating grief to ensure an equal dosage is no easy task: misery is experienced subjectively, and there is always a temptation for each party to form a sincere yet competitive conviction that, in truth, his or her life really is more cursed–in ways that the partner seems uninclined to acknowledge or atone for. It takes a superhuman wisdom to avoid the consoling conclusion that one has the harder life.”
  • „Both Rabih and Kirsten have learned how to reassure the anxious child selves concealed within their adult partners. That’s why they love each other. But they have in the process also unknowingly inherited a little of that dangerous, unfair, beautifully naive trust which little children place in their parents. Some primitive part of the grown-up Rabih and Kirsten insists that the beloved must control far more of the world than any human being in an adult relationship possibly could, which is what generates such anger and frustration when problems nevertheless arise.”
  • „The doubts only inflame desire. As Rabih has realized, the most attractive people aren’t those who accept him right away (he doubts their judgement) or those who never give him a chance (he grows to resent their indifference) but rather those who, for unfathomable reasons – perhaps a competing romantic entanglement or a cautious nature, a physical predicament or a psychological inhibition, a religious commitment or a political objection – leave him turning for a little while in the wind.”
  • „In the wake of the affair, Rabih adopts a different view of the purpose of marriage. As a younger man he thought of it as a consecration of a special set of feelings: tenderness, desire, enthusiasm, longing. However, he now understands that it is also, and just as importantly, an institution, one which is meant to stand fast from year to year without reference to every passing change in the emotions of its participants.”
  • „His clumsiness is at least an incidental sign of his sincerity: we tend not to get very anxious when seducing people we don’t much care about.”
  • „The games of submission and domination, the rule-breaking scenarios, the fetishistic interest in particular words or parts of the body: all offer opportunities to investigate wishes that are far from being simply peculiar, pointless or slightly demented. They offer brief utopian interludes in which we can, with a rare and real friend, safely cast off our normal defences and share and satisfy our longings for extreme closeness and mutual acceptance – which is the real, psychologically rooted reason why games are, in the end, so exciting.”
  • „But she’s not even remotely coping inside: it takes a certain strength to cry, the confidence that one will eventually be able to staunch the tears.”
  • „Infatuations aren’t delusions. That way they have of holding their head may truly indicate someone confident, wry, and sensitive; they really may have the humor and intelligence implied by their eyes and the tenderness suggested by their mouth. The error of the infatuation is more subtle: a failure to keep in mind the central truth of human nature: that everyone—not merely our current partners, in whose multiple failings we are such experts—but everyone will have something substantially and maddeningly wrong with them when we spend more time around them, something so wrong as to make a mockery of those initially rapturous feelings. The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. The best cure for love is to get to know them better.”
  • „The forthrightness of the middle-aged seducer is rarely a matter of confidence or arrogance; it is instead a species of impatient despair born of a pitiful awareness of the ever-increasing proximity of death.”
  • „A world that demands high degrees of self-control, cynicism, and rationality—and is marked by extreme insecurity and competitiveness—justly sees in childhood its own counterbalancing virtues, qualities that have too sternly and definitively had to be surrendered in return for the keys to the adult realm.”
  • „We seem unwilling to allow for the possibility that the glory of our species may lie not only in the launching of satellites, the founding of companies, and the manufacturing of miraculously thin semiconductors but also in an ability—even if it is widely distributed among billions—to spoon yogurt into small mouths, find missing socks, clean toilets, deal with tantrums, and wipe congealed things off tables. Here, too, there are trials worthy not of condemnation or sarcastic ridicule but of a degree of glamour, so that they may be endured with greater sympathy and fortitude.”
  • „He feeds her his worlds.”
  • „It is of course the height of absurdity to blame them. But this is to misunderstand the rules under which love operates. It is because we cannot scream at the forces who are really responsible that we get angry with those we are sure will best tolerate us for blaming them. We take it out on the very nicest, most sympathetic, most loyal people in the vicinity, the ones least likely to have harmed us, but the ones most likely to stick around while we pitilessly rant at them.”
  • „The longing for company may be no less powerful or irresponsible in its effects than the sexual motive once was.”
  • „It’s more than mere coyness to refer to what they have done as “making love.” They haven’t just had sex; they have translated their feelings—appreciation, tenderness, gratitude, and surrender—into a physical act.”
  • „The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. The best cure for love is to get to know them better.”
  • „Children teach us that love is, in its purest form, a kind of service. The word has grown freighted with negative connotations. An individualistic, self-gratifying culture cannot easily equate contentment with being at someone else’s call. We are used to loving others in return for what they can do for us, for their capacity to entertain, charm or soothe us. Yet babies can do precisely nothing. There is, as slightly older children sometimes conclude with a sense of serious discomfort, no ‘point’ to them; that is their point. They teach us to give without expecting anything in return, simply because they need help badly – and we are in a position to provide it. We are inducted into a love based not on an admiration for strength, but on a compassion for weakness, a vulnerability common to every member of the species and one which has been and will eventually again be our own. Because it is always tempting to overemphasize autonomy and independence, these helpless creatures are here to remind us that no one is, in the end, ‘self-made’; we are all heavily in someone’s debt. We realize that life depends – quite literally – on the capacity for love. (…) we learn, too, that being another’s servant is not humiliating – quite the opposite, for it sets us free from the wearying responsibility of continuously catering to our own twisted, insatiable natures. We learn the relief and privilege of being granted something more important to live for than ourselves.”
  • „The child teaches the adult something else about love: that genuine love should involve a constant attempt to interpret with maximal generosity what might be going on, at any time, beneath the surface of difficult and unappealing behaviour. The parent has to second-guess what the cry, the kick, the grief or the anger is really about. And what marks out this project of interpretation – and makes it so different from what occurs in the average adult relationship – is its charity. Parents are apt to proceed from the assumption that their children, though they may be troubled or in pain, are fundamentally good. As soon as the particular pin that is jabbing them is correctly identified, they will be restored to native innocence. When children cry, we don’t accuse them of being mean or self-pitying; we wonder what has upset them. When they bite, we know they must be frightened or momentarily vexed. We are alive to the insidious effects that hunger, a tricky digestive tract or a lack of sleep may have on mood. How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships – if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love.”
  • „A well-loved child is set a challenging precedent. In its very nature, parental love works to conceal the effort which went into generating it. It shields the recipient from the donor’s complexity and sadness – and from an awareness of how many other interests, friends and concerns the parent has sacrificed in the name of love.”
  • „What dangers are posed by those touchingly insecure men who, unsure of their own powers of attraction, need to keep finding out whether they are acceptable to others.”
  • „A few centuries from now, the level of self-knowledge that our own age judges necessary to get married might be thought puzzling, if not outright barbaric. By then, a standard, wholly non-judgemental line of enquiry (appropriate even on a first date), to which everyone would be expected to have a tolerant, good-natured and non-defensive answer, would simply be: ‘So in what ways are you mad?'”
  • „Such doubts only inflame desire. As Rabih has realized, the most attractive people aren’t those who accept him right away (he doubts their judgement) or those who never give him a chance (he grows to resent their indifference) but rather those who, for unfathomable reasons – perhaps a competing romantic entanglement or a cautious nature, a physical predicament or a psychological inhibition, a religious commitment or a political objection – leave him turning for a little while in the wind. „
  • „Beneath many erotic triggers lie symbolic solutions to some of our greatest fears, and poignant allusions to our yearnings for friendship and understanding.”
  • „The success of any relationship should be determined, not just by how happy a couple are to be together, but by how worried each partner would be about not being in a relationship at all.”
  • „We place such demands on our partners, and become so unreasonable around them, because we have faith that someone who understands obscure parts of us, whose presence solves so many of our woes, must somehow also be able to fix everything about our lives. We exaggerate the other’s powers in a curious sort of homage—heard in adult life decades down the line—to a small child’s awe at their own parents’ apparently miraculous capacities.”
  • „It’s profoundly counter-intuitive for us to think of ourselves as mad. We seem so normal and mostly so good – to ourselves. It’s everyone else who is out of step… And yet maturity begins with the capacity to sense and, in good time and without defensiveness, admit to our own craziness. If we are not regularly deeply embarrassed by who we are, the journey to self-knowledge hasn’t begun.”
  • „Melancholy isn’t, of course, a disorder that needs to be cured. It’s a species of intelligent grief which arises when we come face to face with the certainty that disappointment is written into the script from the start.”
  • „Choosing a person to marry is hence just a matter of deciding exactly what kind of suffering we want to endure rather than of assuming we have found a way to skirt the rules of emotional existence. We will all by definition end up with that stock character of our nightmares, “the wrong person.  This needn’t be a disaster, however. Enlightened romantic pessimism simply assumes that one person can’t be everything to another. We should look for ways to accommodate ourselves as gently and as kindly as we can to the awkward realities of living alongside another fallen creature. There can only ever be a “good enough” marriage.  For this realization to sink in, it helps to have had a few lovers before settling down, not in order to have had a chance to locate “the right person,” but in order to have had an ample opportunity to discover at first hand, and in many different contexts, the truth that there isn’t any such a person; that everyone really is a bit wrong when considered from close up.”
  • „How kind we would be if we managed to import even a little of this instinct into adult relationships—if here, too, we could look past the grumpiness and viciousness and recognize the fear, confusion, and exhaustion which almost invariably underlie them. This is what it would mean to gaze upon the human race with love.”
  • „No one properly gets, or can fully sympathize with, anyone else.”
  • „How logical, then, that we should as adults find ourselves rejecting certain candidates not because they are wrong but because they are a little too right – in the sense of seeming somehow excessively balanced, mature, understanding and reliable – given that, in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign and unearned. We chase after more exciting others, not in the belief that life with them will be more harmonious, but out of an unconscious sense that it will be reassuringly familiar in its patterns of frustration.”
  • „He entertains a confused wish to help her, without, however, understanding that help can be a challenging gift to deliver to those who are most in need of it.”
  • „The accusations we make of our lovers make no particular sense. We would utter such unfair things to no one else on earth. But our wild charges are a peculiar proof of intimacy and trust, a symptom of love itself—and in their own way a perverted manifestation of commitment. Whereas we can say something sensible and polite to any stranger, it is only in the presence of the lover we wholeheartedly believe in that can we dare to be extravagantly and boundlessly unreasonable.”
  • „In a more evolved world, one a little more alive to the Greek ideal of love, we would perhaps know to be a bit less clumsy, scared, and aggressive when wanting to point something out, and rather less combative and sensitive when receiving feedback. The concept of education within a relationship would thus lose some of its unnecessarily eerie and negative connotations. We would accept that in responsible hands, both projects—teaching and being taught, calling attention to another’s faults, and letting ourselves be critiqued—might after all be loyal to the true purpose of love.”
  • „There is valour in being able to identify a forgiving, hopeful perspective on one’s life, in knowing how to be a friend to oneself, because one has a responsibility to others to endure.”
  • „He knows that perfect happiness comes in tiny, incremental units only, perhaps no more than five minutes at a time. This is what one has to take with both hands and cherish.”
  • „Despite the liberal atmosphere of our time, it would be naive to assume that the distinction between “weird” and “normal” has disappeared. It stands as secure as ever, waiting to intimidate and herd back into line those who would question the normative limits of love and sex. It may now be deemed “normal” to wear cutoff shorts, expose belly buttons, marry someone of either gender, and watch a little porn for fun, but it also remains indispensably “normal” to believe that true love should be monogamous and that one’s desire should be focused exclusively on one person. To be in dispute with this founding principle is to risk being dismissed, in public or private, with that most dispiriting, caustic and shameful of all epithets: pervert. „
  • „It is precisely when we hear little from our partner which frightens, shocks, or sickens us that we should begin to be concerned, for this may be the surest sign that we are being gently lied to or shielded from the other’s imagination, whether out of kindness or from a touching fear of losing our love. It may mean that we have, despite ourselves, shut our ears to information that fails to conform to our hopes—hopes which will thereby be endangered all the more. „
  • „There is only one person to whom we can expose our catalogue of grievances, one person who can be the recipient of all our accumulated rage at the injustices and imperfections of our lives. It is of course the height of absurdity to blame them. But this is to misunderstand the rules under which love operates. It is because we cannot scream at the forces who are really responsible that we get angry with those we are sure will best tolerate us for blaming them. We take it out on the very nicest, most sympathetic, most loyal people in the vicinity, the ones least likely to have harmed us, but the ones most likely to stick around while we pitilessly rant at them. „
  • „But calm is precisely what is absent from love’s classroom. There is simply too much on the line. The “student” isn’t merely a passing responsibility; he or she is a lifelong commitment. Failure will ruin existence. No wonder we may be prone to lose control and deliver cack-handed, hasty speeches which bear no faith in the legitimacy or even the nobility of the act of imparting advice. And no wonder, too, if we end up achieving the very opposite of our goals, because increasing levels of humiliation, anger, and threat have seldom hastened anyone’s development. Few of us ever grow more reasonable or more insightful about our own characters for having had our self-esteem taken down a notch, our pride wounded, and our ego subjected to a succession of pointed insults. We simply grow defensive and brittle in the face of suggestions which sound like mean-minded and senseless assaults on our nature rather than caring attempts to address troublesome aspects of our personality.”
  • „There is, in the early period of love, a measure of sheer relief at being able, at last, to reveal so much of what needed to be kept hidden for the sake of propriety. We can admit to not being as respectable or as sober, as even-keeled, or as “normal” as society believes. We can be childish, imaginative, wild, hopeful, cynical, fragile, and multiple; all of this our lover can understand and accept us for.”
  • „Ideally, art would give us the answers that other people don’t. This might even be one of the main points of literature: to tell us what society at large is too prudish to explore. The important books should be those that leave us wondering, with relief and gratitude, how the author could possibly have known so much about our lives.”
  • „Nature’s kind trick is to make everything happen so slowly that we don’t get as scared as we should.”
  • „To a shameful extent, the charm of marriage boils down to how unpleasant it is to be alone. This isn’t necessarily our fault as individuals. Society as a whole appears determined to render the single state as nettlesome and depressing as possible: once the freewheeling days of school and university are over, company and warmth become dispiritingly hard to find; social life starts to revolve oppressively around couples; there’s no one left to call or hang out with. It’s hardly surprising, then, if when we find someone halfway decent, we might cling.”
  • „To be mature is, we’re told, to move beyond possessiveness. Jealousy is for babies. The mature person knows that no one owns anyone.”
  • „Love reaches a pitch at those moments when our beloved turns out to understand, more clearly than others have ever been able to, and perhaps even better than we do ourselves, the chaotic, embarrassing and shameful parts of us. That someone else gets who we are and both sympathizes with and forgives us for what they see underpins our whole capacity to trust and to give. Love is a dividend of gratitude for our lover’s insight into our own confused and troubled psyche.”
  • „Romanticism is a philosophy of intuitive agreement. In real love, there is no need tiresomely to articulate or spell things out. When two people belong together, there is simply – at long last – a wondrous reciprocal feeling that both parties see the world in precisely the same way.”
  • „We might imagine that the fear and insecurity of getting close to someone would happen only once, at the start of a relationship, and that anxieties couldn’t possibly continue after two people had made some explicit commitments to one another, like marrying, securing a joint mortgage, buying a house, having a few children, and naming each other in their wills. Yet conquering distance and gaining assurances that we are needed aren’t exercises to be performed only once; they have to be repeated every time there’s been a break—a day away, a busy period, an evening at work—for every interlude has the power once again to raise the question of whether or not we are still wanted.”
  • „We can claim to have begun to know someone only when they have substantially disappointed us.”
  • „The business of repatriating emotions emerges as one of the most delicate and necessary tasks of love. To accept the risks of transference is to prioritize sympathy and understanding over irritation and judgment. Two people can come to see that sudden bursts of anxiety or hostility may not always be directly caused by them, and so should not always be met with fury or wounded pride. Bristling and condemnation can give way to compassion. „
  • „The very concept of trying to “teach” a lover things feels patronizing, incongruous, and plain sinister. If we truly loved someone, there could be no talk of wanting him or her to change. Romanticism is clear on this score: true love should involve an acceptance of a partner’s whole being. It is this fundamental commitment to benevolence that makes the early months of love so moving. Within the new relationship, our vulnerabilities are treated with generosity. Our shyness, awkwardness, and confusion endear (as they did when we were children) rather than generate sarcasm or complaint; the trickier sides of us are interpreted solely through the filter of compassion. From these moments, a beautiful yet challenging and even reckless conviction develops: that to be properly loved must always mean being endorsed for all that one is. „
  • „We are never through with the requirement for acceptance. This isn’t a curse limited to the inadequate and the weak. Insecurity may even be a peculiar sign of well-being. It means we haven’t allowed ourselves to take other people for granted, that we remain realistic enough to see that things could genuinely turn out badly and that we are invested enough to care.”
  • „By the standards of most love stories, our own, real relationships are almost all damaged and unsatisfactory. No wonder separation and divorce so often appear inevitable. But we should be careful not to judge our relationships by the expectations imposed on us by a frequently misleading aesthetic medium. The fault lies with art, not life. Rather than split up, we may need to tell ourselves more accurate stories – stories that don’t dwell so much on the beginning, that don’t promise us complete understanding, that strive to normalise our troubles and show us a melancholy yet hopeful path through the course of love.”
  • „Without patience or negotiation, there is bitterness: anger that has forgotten where it came from. There is a nagger who wants it done now and can’t be bothered to explain why. And there is a naggee who no longer has the heart to explain that his or her resistance is grounded in some sensible counter-arguments or, alternatively, in some touching and perhaps even forgivable flaws of character.  The two parties just hope the problem – so boring to them both – will simply go away.”
  • „Our romantic lives are fated to be sad and incomplete, because we are creatures driven by two essential desires which point powerfully in entirely opposing directions. Yet what is worse is our utopian refusal to countenance the divergence, our naive hope that a cost-free synchronisation might somehow be found: that the libertine might live for adventure while avoiding loneliness and chaos. Or that the married Romantic might unite sex with tenderness, and passion with routine.”
  • „Insecurity is a sign of well-being. It means we haven’t allowed ourselves to take other people for granted, that we remain realistic enough to see that things could genuinely turn out badly and that we are invested enough to care.”
  • „Never having been betrayed sets up poor preconditions for remaining faithful. Evolving into genuinely more loyal people requires us to suffer through some properly innoculative episodes, in which we feel for a time limitlessly panicked, violated and on the edge of collapse. Only then can the injunction not to betray our spouses evolve from a bland bromide into a permanently vivid moral imperative.”
  • „I will never be able to do or be everything you want, nor vice versa, but I’d like to think we can be the sort of people who will dare to tell each other who we really are. The alternative is silence and lies, which are the real enemies of love.”
  • „But fantasies are often the best thing we can make of our multiple and contradictory wishes; they allow us to inhabit one reality without destroying the other. Fantasizing spares those we care about from the full irresponsibility and scary strangeness of our urges.”
  • „The world upsets, disappoints, frustrates and hurts us in countless ways at every turn. It delays us, rejects our creative endeavours, overlooks us for promotions, rewards idiots and smashes our ambitions on its bleak, relentless shores. And almost invariably, we can’t complain about any of it. It’s too difficult to tease out who may really be to blame; and too dangerous to complain even when we know for certain (lest we be fired or laughed at). There is only one person to whom we can expose our catalogue of grievances, one person who can be the recipient of all our accumulated rage at the injustices and imperfections of our lives. It is of course the height of absurdity to blame them. But this is to misunderstand the rules under which love operates. It is because we cannot scream at the forces who are really responsible that we get angry with those we are sure will best tolerate us for blaming them. We take it out on the very nicest, most sympathetic, most loyal people in the vicinity, the ones least likely to have harmed us, but the ones most likely to stick around while we pitilessly rant at them. The accusations we direct at our lovers make no particular sense. We would utter such unfair things to no one else on earth. But our wild charges are a peculiar proof of intimacy and trust, a symptom of love itself – and, in their own way, a perverted manifestation of commitment. Whereas we can say something sensible and polite to any stranger, it is only in the presence of the lover we wholeheartedly believe in that we can dare to be extravagantly and boundlessly unreasonable.”

Kevin Barry – singurul irlandez pe lista lunga de la Man Booker Prize 2019

Ca in fiecare an, la aceasta data, azi a fost data publicitatii lista lunga sau „Booker Dozen” cu cele 13 romane nominalizate la Man Booker Prize, prestigios premiu literar aflat la editia cu numarul 51 si care, incepand de anul trecut, include si romane publicate in Irlanda, nu doar UK.

Lista de anul asta este una mai mult decat interesanta si prevede o lupta foarte stransa, intrucat, printre cele opt femei si cinci barbati nominalizati, se afla doi fosti castigatori, nume grele ale literaturii: Margaret Atwood cu „The Testaments”, continuarea la „The Handmaid’s Tale” (pe care eu il ador), care va fi publicat la inceputul lui septembrie si Salman Rushdie cu „Quichotte”, roman care urmeaza sa fie si el publicat la sfarsitul lunii viitoare. Eh, da, avantajul juratilor de a citi cartile inaintea aparitiei pe piata! Alte nume foarte cunoscute sunt Elif Shafak si Deborah Levy.

Kevin Barry Sursa foto

Kevin Barry, nascut in 1969 in Limerick (orasul unde am votat si noi, pe 26 mai), a calatorit foarte mult, schimband vreo 17 adrese pana la 36 de ani, cand dupa cum el insusi spune, a decis sa se stabileasca in Sligo fiindca devenise dificil sa tot mute dupa el tone de carti. Este autorul a doua colectii de nuvele, dintre care „There are Little Kingdoms” a castigat Premiul Rooney pentru literatura irlandeza, in 2007 si trei romane, incluzandu-l si pe cel nominalizat la Man Booker Prize anul acesta. „City of Bohane”, romanul sau de debut publicat in 2013, i-a adus International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, in valoare de 100 000 de euro (unul dintre cele mai mari premii literare din lume), iar cu cel de-al doilea,”Beatlebone”, publicat in 2015, a castigat Goldsmiths Prize (si 10 000 de euro).

Cel de-al treilea roman al lui Kevin Barry, „Night Boat to Tangier”, aflat acum pe lista lunga a Man Booker Prize a luat viata ca urmare a unei comenzi din partea Abbey Theatre si spune povestea a doi gangsteri irlandezi din Cork, trecuti de prima tinerete, care-si rememoreaza trecutul in timp ce asteapta un vas in Tangier, Spania. Puteti citi o recenzie a cartii aici.

Nu stiu de ce, dar nu simt o mare tentatie de a citi cartea asta, probabil fiindca subiectul nu pare a fi pe gustul meu, insa altfel stau lucrurile cand vine vorba de romanele lui Elif Shafak si Margaret Atwood. Cel din urma e cel mai tentant și abia astept sa apara!

Lista scurta a nominalizatilor va fi publicata pe 3 septembrie, iar castigatorul premiului Man Booker, in valoare de 50 000 de lire sterline, va fi anuntat pe 14 octombrie. May the odds be ever in their favour!

LATER EDIT 3.09.2019: Azi a fost publicata lista scurta si se pare ca „Night Boat to Tangier”, romanul scriitorului irlandez Kevin Barry nu se afla pe ea.

LATER EDIT 14.10.2019: Azi a fost anunțat câștigătorul Man Booker Prize, sau mai bine zis castigatoarele, fiindca sunt doua: Margaret Atwood – The Testaments si Bernardine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other.

CITATUL ZILEI:

„O carte este un dar pe care îl poţi deschide iar şi iar.”

Garrison Keillor

Banned Books Week: 7 carti interzise de-a lungul timpului

Sursa foto

Traiasca Internetul si retelele sociale, caci altfel nu as fi aflat niciodata ca ieri, la americani, a inceput Banned Books Week, o campanie de constientizare menita sa aduca in atentia publicului cartile interzise/contestate si autorii persecutati din cauza celor scrise. Are loc in fiecare an, inca din 1982, in ultima saptamana din septembrie, iar anul asta, Banned Books Week va avea loc in perioada 23-29 septembrie.

Iubesc cartile si iubesc sa citesc, asa ca nu puteam lasa ocazia asta sa treaca fara sa scriu ceva legat de subiect. Si fiindca e vorba de o saptamana intreaga dedicata cartilor interzise, am hotarat ca lista mea, absolut subiectiva, sa contina exact sapte. Veti vedea ca principalele motive ale interzicerii acestora sunt cele sexuale si religioase, ca au fost, sunt si vor exista intotdeauna oameni care vor sa le impuna celorlalti ce sa gandeasca si ca este foarte usor de cazut in extreme. Asadar, iata lista si astept parerile voastre despre ea in comentarii.

1. Amantul doamnei Chatterley – D. H. Lawrence (1928)

Publicata in 1928 in Italia, la Florenta, si un an mai tarziu in Franta, in Marea Britanie, fiind considerata prea obscena, a vazut lumina tiparului abia in 1960, cand a avut loc si un proces intentat editurii Penguin Books. Aceasta l-a castigat si a vandut cartea in trei milioane de exemplare, povestea relatiei emotionale, dar mai ales fizice, dintre doamna Chatterley, o reprezentanta a clasei nobiliare, si un barbat din clasa muncitoare, devenind foarte populara. Din cauza catorva scene erotice si folosirea unor cuvinte considerate vulgare, cartea a mai fost interzisa in SUA (pana in 1959), Canada, Australia (pana in 1960), India si Japonia.

2. Minunata lume noua – Aldous Huxley (1932)

Cu toate ca in zilele noastre, multe din plasmuirile lui Huxley au devenit realitate (precum tehnologia reproductiva) si nu mai reprezinta un subiect de nediscutat, la data publicarii cartii, aceasta a fost considerata pornografica si promovand promiscuitatea sexuala, prin urmare, a fost interzisa in Australia si Irlanda timp de cinci ani, iar in cateva state americane, scoasa din programa școlara.

3. Tropicul cancerului – Henry Miller (1934)

Considerata de George Orwell drept „cea mai importantă carte a anilor 30”, la momentul publicarii sale, in 1934 in Franta, aceasta a starnit mari controverse din cauza descrierii experientelor sexuale ale protagonistului, si a fost interzisa importarea ei in SUA. In 1961, cand a fost publicata peste ocean, au fost intentate peste 60 de procese pentru obscenitate in 21 de state, celor care au indraznit sa o vanda. Iar unii, precum președintele Curții Supreme de Justiție din Pennsylvania, Michael Musmanno, erau chiar foarte porniti impotriva cartii, acesta scriind: „Tropicul Cancerului nu este o carte. Este o hazna, o cloaca, o putrefactie, un canal ce colecteaza tot ce e mai putred in depravarea umana.” Abia in 1964, Curtea Suprema de Justitie a SUA a decis ca opera nu este obscena.

In Finlanda a fost publicata abia in 1970, iar in Marea Britanie, indarjirea lui T. S. Elliot de a apara public cartea, a salvat-o de la interzicere.

4. Ferma animalelor – George Orwell (1945)

La aproape șaptezeci de ani de la publicarea ei, „Ferma Animalelor” este unul dintre cele mai cunoscute si mai apreciate romane distopice scrise vreodata, pe lista lecturilor obligatorii de citit intr-o viata. Dar la momentul aparitiei sale, aceasta a fost interzisa in SUA pe motiv ca era prea critica la adresa sistemului comunist din Uniunea Sovietica, dupa ce, in prealabil, manuscrisul fusese refuzat de cateva ori de edituri atat americane, cat si englezesti, fiindca se temeau ca romanul ar putea afecta negativ relatiile diplomatice dintre SUA, Marea Britanie si Uniunea Sovietica.

Cartea a mai fost interzisa in tari precum Coreea de Sud si Cuba, iar in 2002 in Emiratele Arabe Unite, din cauza porcului vorbitor, considerat a fi impotriva valorilor islamice.

5. Jurnalul Annei Frank – Anne Frank (1947)

Pe foarte multi cititori i-a impresionat povestea fetitei de 13 ani, de origini evreiesti, care a fost nevoita sa traiasca ascunsa, inchisa timp de doi ani intr-o cladire din Amsterdam, in timpul celui de-al doilea Razboi Mondial i-a impresionat pana la lacrimi pe foarte multi cititori, dar nu si pe egipteni si libanezi, care in 2009, au interzis cartea in scoli, pe motiv ca prezenta Israelul si evreii intr-o lumina favorabila, si nici conducerea unei scoli din Virgina, SUA, nu s-a lasat induplecata in 2010, reclamand faptul ca jurnalul are un continut sexual explicit si referiri la homosexualitate.

Cartea a fost tradusa in peste 60 de limbi si se numara printre cele mai importante opere ale secolului al XX-lea.

6. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

Cartea a starnit vii controverse inca de la aparitia sa in 1955, la Paris, editorul Sunday Express numind-o „cea mai murdara carte pe care am citit-o vreodata”, dupa ce, in prealabil, mai multe edituri refuzasera publicarea ei. Tinand cont de subiectul sau, reactiile negative erau lesne de anticipat. Nu multi au putut sa digere povestea profesorului de literatura obsedat de o fata de doar 12 ani, cu care intretine relatii sexuale dupa ce devine tatal ei vitreg. Prin urmare, considerata pornografica, obscena si indecenta, cartea a fost interzisa in Franta (in anul urmator publicarii), Marea Britanie, Argentina (in 1959), Noua Zeelanda, Africa de Sud (in 1974), scapand de acest statut abia in 1982. Azi e considerat unul dintre cele mai importante romane ale secolului al XX-lea, pe lista lecturilor obligatorii.

7. Versetele satatnice – Salman Rushdie (1988)

Romanul asta reprezinta exemplul perfect pentru a ilustra ca ceea ce scrii iti poate pune viata in pericol. Inca de la aparitia ei, cartea a fost interzisa in multe tari islamice – Bangladesh, Egipt, India, Iran, Kenya, Kuweit, Liberia, Malaezia, Papua Noua Guinee, Pakistan, Senegal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania si Thailanda, pe motiv ca ar constitui o blasfemie la adresa Islamului. Cu siguranta fiindca titlul face referire la asa-numitele versete satanice, care ar fi facut candva parte din Coran, permitand rugaciuni catre trei zeite pagane.

Scrisa in India, cartea a fost arsa in timpul protestelor din Marea Britanie si cauza unor revolte violente in Pakistan, iar in America, doua mari librarii au refuzat sa o vanda, dupa ce au primit amenintari cu moartea. In Iran, in 1999, o recompensa record de 2,8 milioane de dolari a fost pusa pe capul autorului, fiind inca valabila si in ziua de azi, dupa ce, in 1989, Ayatollahul Khomeini, conducatorul suprem al Iranului, emisese o fatwa prin care le cerea tuturor musulmanilor sa-l ucida pe Rushdie si editorii lui.

 

„Pana e mai puternica decat sabia!”, spunea Cardinalul Richelieu in piesa lui Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Regimurile totalitare s-au temut dintotdeauna de cuvantul scris, caci cuvantul inseamna putere. E mai usor sa tii oamenii in intuneric, prosti si neinformati, fiindca devin o turma usor de stapanit si condus dupa bunul plac. Mintile goale sunt numai bune de umplut cu ce e dezirabil si convenabil pentru regim. Imi vin acum in minte scena din „Hotul de carti” cu nazistii arzand cartile indezirabile si nenorocirea din 2015, cand jihadistii au distrus Templul lui Baal-Shamin din Palmyra, morala fiind, in ambele cazuri: cultura e periculoasa! Asa ca cititi, dragilor, cititi, cititi, cititi in fiecare zi!

CITATUL ZILEI:

„Cartile sunt mai mult decat carti, ele sunt viata, sufletul si miezul timpurilor trecute, motivul pentru care oamenii au muncit si au murit, esenta si chintesenta vietilor lor.”

Amy Lowell

Mic-dejun la Tiffany si alte povestiri de Truman Capote

Mic dejun la Tiffany by Truman Capote.jpg
Sursa poza autor

„Mic dejun la Tiffany” e a doua carte scrisa de Truman Capote pe care am citit-o, prima fiind „Alte glasuri, alte incaperi”, acum cativa ani. Recunosc ca am avut asteptari destul de mari de la cartea asta, probabil si din cauza faimei si popularitatii ecranizarii. Nu am vazut (inca) filmul aparut in 1961, in regia lui Blake Edwards, dar cine nu stie scena cu Audrey Hepburn in rochia neagra Givenchy, manusi lungi, colier din perle, ochelari de soare si parul prins in coc, mancand croissante si band cafea in fata magazinului Tiffany? E o imagine cult. Eh, si cu imaginea asta in minte am citit eu cartea, desi am descoperit inca de la inceput ca cel putin fizic, personajul din carte si cel din film nu au mai nimic in comun, Holly Golighlty cea livreasca fiind blonda, cu parul vopsit in tot felul de culori si ochi deschisi la culoare.

Lectura pe care am incheiat-o azi a fost ilustrarea perfecta a vorbei aleia din popor, cand te duci cu sacul la pomul laudat, asteptandu-te la ditamai productia, dar ramai dezamagit vazand doar cateva fructe ici-colo pe cate-o ramura. Cam asa si cu romanul asta (sau ma rog, micro-roman, ca e scurtut, aproape 100 de pagini), mi-a inselat asteptarile si m-a dezamagit. Povestea in sine nu e rea, dar nici una extraordinara, ceea ce o salveaza e personajul central (cu toate ca s-ar mai fi putut lucra la el) si scriitura simpla, minimalista, cursiva (desi trecerea prea rapida de la o scena la alta m-a cam ametit).

Asadar, avem un scriitor aspirant care rememoreaza niste fapte petrecute in urma cu 15 ani, pe cand locuia in New York, intr-o veche cladire de apartamente din Upper East Side si o avea ca vecina la etajul doi pe tanara de 19 ani, misterioasa si nonconformista, Holly Golightly, calatoare (dupa cum ii scria pe cartea de vizita). Pustoaica nu era chiar cea mai buna vecina, innebunindu-i pe toti cu petrecerile ei zgomotoase si puhoiul de persoane dubioase care-i treceau pragul, si in general cu viata ei tumultoasa. Tanarul scriitor este fascinat de persoana ei si incetul cu incetul, cei doi ajung prieteni. Si daca la inceput, trecutul lui Holly este un mare mister, pe parcurs aflam intamplarile dramatice de dinainte de sosirea ei la New York. In plus, va mai spun ca firea ei superficiala, iresponsabila si imatura va fi si cea care-i va aduce probleme cu legea. Nu vreau sa dau mai multe amanunte, ca sa nu stric placerea de a citi cartea celor care nu au facut-o inca.

Din pacate, nu am putut regasi in Holly clasa si eleganta celei din film (care se datoreaza cu siguranta stilatei si inegalabilei Audrey Hepburn). De fapt, ca sa fiu sincera, nu am gasit niciuna din calitatile pe care eu ma asteptam sa le aiba, nu m-am putut identifica cu ea (nici macar prin parti) si poate de asta nu am placut-o. Da, Capote a creat un personaj absolut fascinant si naucitor, nu contest asta, dar nu la modul admirativ, de luat drept model de viata. Sa zicem ca eu una nu mi-as dori o astfel de fiica. Holly e prea naiva si nestatornica, prea superficiala si prosmiscua, aiurita, nonconformista, iresponsabila si imatura pentru gusturile mele. E prea… colorata. Prin urmare, nici nu e de mirare ca nu mi-a intrat in gratii. La inceput, cand trecutul ei era un mare mister, desi banuiam ca doar un sir de drame ar fi putut sa-i justifice firea, nu am placut-o deloc, ba mi s-a parut chiar exagerata si enervanta, un fel de „slut teen” care traieste de pe o zi pe alta, fiind intretinuta de tot felul de barbati instariti, dar de o calitate umane indoielnica. Mai tarziu, cand mi s-au confirmat banuielile, am gasit un dram de simpatie pentru conditia ei si i-am inteles, cumva, actiunile, dar tot nu pot spune ca am reusit sa o indragesc. Holly nu stie ce vrea: isi doreste si libertate deplina, dar e si-n cautarea unui loc numit „acasa”, gaseste alinare in lucrurile materiale, dar nu poseda prea multe, lucrurile ei stand inca impachetate in cutii, de parca ar fi pe picior de plecare sau gata de fuga in orice moment. E o superficiala si o inconstienta, nerealizand riscurile la care se supune pentru bani. Desi o tine din petrecere in petrecere, pare totusi ca nu-si traieste viata, de parca nu ar fi a ei  sau mai bine zis, de parca ar fi, dupa cum s-a autointitulat, o „calatoare” prin propria-i viata.

In mod normal, oricine ar avea o vecina ca Holly ar cataloga-o imediat drept „femeie usoara” si gata, aici s-ar incheia totul. Dar numai Capote reuseste sa o transforme intr-un personaj memorabil si sa construiasca un roman in jurul ei. Ceea ce-mi place la Truman Capote e ca nu-si judeca personajele si nici nu le infiereaza, desi Dumnezeu stie ca sunt greu de iubit, ci le prezinta ca un dat, pe sistemul „Astea sunt, asa vi le dau, luati-le ca atare!”, din scriitura lui razbatand de fiecare data o caldura si o dragoste parinteasca pentru ele. Tocmai in asta consta maiestria lui Capote: e un fin observator al conditiei umane.

Editia citita de mine e varianta pdf a cartii aparute la Editura Univers, Colectia Cotidianul, si mai contine, pe langa „Mic dejun la Tiffany”, alte trei povestiri, de unde si titlul articolului de azi. „Casa florilor” mi s-a parut tare ciudatica, daca nu as fi stiut ca a fost scrisa tot de Truman Capote, nu as fi ghicit niciodata autorul, nu i-am recunoscut stilul. Dintre toate, cel mai mult mi-a placut ultima, „O amintire de Craciun”, m-a induiosat foarte tare.

Acestea fiind zise, cat de curand o sa vad si filmul, care oricum era pe lista mea de multa vreme, si o sa revin cu impresii despre el, eventual si despre diferentele dintre carte si film, care am inteles ca sunt enorme.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls de Elena Favilli si Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls - Elena Favilli Francesca Cavallo

Am tot vazut cartea asta pe Instagram anul trecut si mi-o doream tare mult, in special pentru fie-mea, dar nu am reusit sa mi-o comand de pe Amazon, nu stiu de ce, nu ma intrebati. Asa ca in primavara, cand am fost la Londra si am dat peste ea in CostCo, la un pret foarte bun, am cumparat-o fara ezitare. Si bine am facut, fiindca e minunata!

In primul rand, cartea asta e un deliciu pentru ochi. M-au incantat coperta cartonata, tare si paginile din hartie groasa, de calitate. Iar ilustratiile, realizate de 60 de femei-artist din toata lumea, in stiluri dieferite, sunt absolut superbe, eye orgasm, nu alta! Tinand cont ca e de fapt o carte pentru copii, cred ca lucrurile astea sunt importante, desenele fiind cele care-i atrag in primul rand, si in plus, s-au folosit cerneluri pe baza de soia si alte plante, asa ca bila alba la capitolul asta!

Ce mi s-a mai parut fain e ca la inceputul cartii, chiar pe prima pagina e un loc special pentru a scrie cui ii apartine cartea, urmata de o alta cu o dedicatie/citat motivational, iar la finalul cartii sunt doua pagini pentru a scrie povestea personala si desena autoportretul. Draguta idee, nu-i asa? Sunt chiar curioasa care va fi povestea Galustei mele!

Cum spuneam, initial, am luat-o pentru fiica-mea (fiindca presimt eu ca o sa fie o rebela :D), pentru atunci cand va fi destul de mare sa-i pot citi seara, la culcare, dar am descoperit ca poate fi o lectura placuta si pentru noi, fetele mai mari, indiferent ca suntem mame sau nu! Sunt 100 de povesti inspirationale de-o pagina, in engleza, care se citesc foarte usor, despre tot atatea femei/fete extraordinare din diferite colturi ale lumii, de diferite varste, rase si religii, din diferite domenii, din antichitate si pana in prezent. Ca exemple, le amintesc pe Cleopatra, regina Egiptului, Astrid Lindgren, creatoarea lui Pippi Sosetica, soprana Maria Callas, pictorita Frida Kahlo, arhitecta Zaha Hadid, chef Julia Child, jurnalista Anna Politkovkaya, matematiciana Ada Lovelace.

Mi se pare un proiect frumos si util, mai ales cand te gandesti ca inca sunt destule locuri in lume unde drepturile femeilor sunt ingradite, si chiar si-n tarile civilizate, se mai aud destule voci care condamna independenta femeilor, trimitandu-le la cratita si crescutul de prunci. Sunt mama de fata si vreau s-o cresc libera si independenta, descurcareata, ambitioasa si increzatoare in fortele proprii. Vreau sa stie ca are aceleasi drepturi ca un barbat, ca poate obtine tot ce viseaza, atata timp cat crede in ea si-n visul sau, munceste si nu se da batuta. Iar daca acum se poate bucura de anumite drepturi, precum dreptul la vot, dreptul de a studia, e pentru ca femei curajoase si puternice de dinaintea ei au luptat pentru ele, sacrificand multe, asa ca as vrea sa le fie recunoscatoare.

O astfel de colectie de povesti motivationale, inspirate din viata unor femei care nu doar ca au existat in realitate, dar au si facut mai buna lumea in care traim, mi se pare mult mai interesanta si mai educativa decat clasicele povesti cu printese care au nevoie sa fie salvate de printi. De asta o numesc eu „carte anti-printese”! 😀 Mie tare mi-ar fi placut sa citesc asa ceva cand eram mica!

Daca per total am adorat cartea asta, am si cateva lucruri sa i le imput. In primul rand, mi se pare ca anumite personalitati nu sunt potrivite pentru a se afla in ea, intrucat nu au realizari extraordinare, ci par adaugate pentru corectitudine politica, prin urmare ar fi putut bine merci sa fie inlocuite cu altele mai merituoase. Ma mai deranjeaza si faptul ca nu este nicio romanca printre ele (da, ce sa zic, mi-a fost zgandarita mandria de romanca, 😀 ), mai ales ca avem cu ce sa ne laudam: Sofia Ionescu, prima femeie neurochirurg din lume, Eliza Leonida Zamfirescu, prima femeie inginer din lume, Smaranda Gheorghiu, prima femeie exploratoare a Polului Nord, Sarmiza Bilcescu, prima femeie doctor in drept din lume, Ana Aslan, fondatoarea primului institut de geriatrie din lume si nu in ultimul rand, Nadia Comaneci, cu primul 10 din istoria gimnasticii. Adica nici macar Nadia, mah, care e atat de cunoscuta in toata lumea? Sa fim seriosi, ar fi putut foarte usor sa o inlocuiasca pe Simone Biles, mai ales ca povestea Nadiei e si mai interesanta. Ma vad deci nevoita sa recunosc ca din cauza asta am ramas un pic dezamagita si placerea de a citi mi-a cam fost stirbita.

De curand a aparut si partea a doua a cartii, „Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2”, si cu toata dezamagirea produsa de lucrurile descrise mai sus, o voi cumpara. Macar pentru mesajul pe care cartile astea il transmit fetelor, si tot merita banii! Mi-ar placea ca fiica-mea sa aiba drept modele in viata femei care chiar fac ceva si nu doar pozeaza in dive afectate pe retelele sociale! Si inca mai sper ca in partea a doua sa dau si peste o romanca!