Saturday, March 10, 2007

oh my god, a post!

Don't know why I'm so unable to come up with anything to say lately...
Quotes from books I've been reading lately:

"Your heart is like a great river after a long spell of rain, spilling over its banks. All signposts that once stood on the ground are gone, inundated and carried away by that rush of water. And still the rain beats down on the surface of the river. Every time you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That's it. That's my heart."
-Haruki Murakami, "Kafka on the Shore"

"From time to time I can see their faces, against the dark, flickering like the images of saints, in old foreign cathedrals, in the light of the drafty candles; candles you would light to pray by, kneeling, your forehead against the wooden railing, hoping for an answer. I can conjure them but they are mirages only, they don't last. Can I be blamed for wanting a real body, to put my arms around? Without it I too am disembodied. I can listen to my own heartbeat against the bedsprings, I can stroke myself, under the dry white sheets, in the dark, but I too am dry and white, hard, granular; it's like running my hand over a plateful of dried rice; it's like snow. There's something dead about it, something deserted. I am like a room where things once happened and now nothing does, except the pollen of the weeds that grow up outside the window, blowing in as dust across the floor."
-Margaret Atwood, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Re-reading "The Handmaid's Tale" was interesting. I first read it in the 10th grade, and the story--The US government is overthrown and replaced by a quasi-religious one where women with invalid relationships (i.e., women who have been married more than once or are in non-married relationships) and viable ovaries are forced to try and bear children for the wives of rich powerful men--kind of freaked me out and sucked me in. Now, years later, the story seems relatively implausible (there's so much change in so little time, for one thing) but the sadness within the story is so eloquently stated that I can't help but appreciate it still. The narrator alternates between tales of her present-day life and memories of her previous life with her husband and child, many centering around the change in government. Her view of reality was what struck me most this time; because she lives in such an uncertain space and because she has no information or way of getting information, the past and the present are both pretty much hers to invent. Immediately after the passage I quoted, she tells in great detail about what she believes happened to her husband after they were caught trying to escape. She gives three different possibilities, and then says this:
"The things I believe can't all be true,though one of them must be. But I believe in all of them, all three versions of Luke, at one and the same time. This contradictory way of believing seems to me, right now, the only way I can believe in anything. Whatever the truth is, I will be ready for it."

1 comment:

PocaCosa said...

I appreciate that you took the time to type out those quotes. They're awesome. I've been meaning to read the latter since 11th grade, and each day that I don't perpetually disappoints Kim Holland. :) I'm glad you reminded me, and I'm going to go pull it off the shelf so I don't forget.