Monday, May 22, 2006

The Bridge and other Conveyances

The latest Amazon order got here this morning. The post seems to have improved since last year when it used to take weeks before I’d see those little cardboard packets. It was on the dining table when I got up this morning. Nice wake up call.

Inside was the The Bridge, by Marin Sorescu, Myne, Frances Presley and Anything the Landlord Touches, by Emma Lew. Opening The Bridge and reading quickly over cereal, I found translations of poems that Sorescu wrote as his final poetic cycle before he died at 60 from liver cancer. He wrote these from about five weeks before his death (although the collection includes two from just before that) almost up to the last, and the entire collection is a real poetic Jacob’s ladder, where Sorescu works through and strips away the stages of dying using metaphors and language so poignantly. Its hard to write about Sorescu’s work without sounding clichéd and trite, so I’ll refer you to a much better review if you’re interested. I thought The Bridge was one of the bravest efforts I've ever read.

Funny thing is that death is such a subject this weekend. Last night I watched The Life of David Gale for the first time. Yes, I don’t get out much - sore subject! I found the film a little awkward in what it was trying to depict, not what you’d expect from Alan Parker. But the whole subject of using a good death to make up for the mistakes of an average life, made me think. There was a line in the movie where Gale, played by Kevin Spacey, questions what is life but a long slow death anyway – every day we die a little… I find death an awful hard subject to think about, probably because it’s so damned final.

Emma Lew & Frances Presley’s work both look to be very interesting – but I’ll have to come back to them later because I’m only on here sneaking out of studying!

Oh, the joys of the Woman in White and The Portrait of a Lady. I just finished with Madame Bovary yesterday and though I really enjoyed it and Germinal previously, I’m going to have leave them both for strategies in the exam, since neither suit the remaining three assignments I have chosen to do. Reading Flaubert was interesting for making more connections between T.S. Eliot’s Europhile connections and also for showing how the French were just that little bit more developed style and language-wise to the English – or is that my Franco-fangs showing again? Zola and Flaubert don’t seem as hung-up on flogging their moral concerns to the readers, more the reader is expected to be relatively intelligent and work it out for themselves. I can hear the distant rending of crinolines as the 19th century comes to the fin de siècle, all over again!

1 comment:

Dan said...

Your Gale quote, "What is life but a long slow death anyway?" reminded me of a line from "Bang the Drum Slowly" that sticks out in my mind after 33 years: "Everybody knows everybody is dying; that's why people are as good as they are."