Thursday, February 27, 2014

(Resumption) Get a Life

I have not forgotten about you, blog.  But as the weird blend of birthday (my husband) and sympathy (the loss of my grandfather) cards on my mantel attests - life has been a really mixed bag lately, and I've been living mostly offline.

It doesn't feel right to just pick up where I left off, but with a blog, what else is there to do?

I actually finished a book - Get a Life, by Nadine Gordimer - two days before I found out about my grandfather.  I had a whole post in my mind at the time, but didn't write it, and now it seems like I read the book a year ago instead of a week ago.

But I have to get something out on it, I'm already a book behind in reviews.

Gordimer is a Nobel-prize winning South African more known for her books focused on class and race, than on health and family drama.  This is my first book by her, but I knew going in that she can be ... difficult.   But at least its only 187 pages, right?  Nope.  This is easily one of the toughest books I've tackled.

There are brilliant passages contemplating illness, death, conservation (her description of the Okavango delta late in the book is fantastic), parent/child relationships, and husband/wife relationships.  Unfortunately, they usually are couched in wild sentence structures and possibly even experimental grammar.  There are sentences that just don't read properly in English as I know it.

Books inevitably get mixed up in real life, when you're me, at least.  They can put you in a mood.  (The Bell Jar, anyone?)  This one left me feeling pretty ambivalent about life.  And then life itself left me feeling pretty ambivalent about life.          

As you'll soon see, bookwise, I changed direction. I have been resorting to light, fun lit - no more heavy hitters that question the meaning of existence for a while.  Sometimes reading for entertainment and escapism is just the ticket.

   Final call:
It's worth the slog, but I'm not sure why a writer of her skill would intentionally obscure her work. Get ready to commit some time and to question your understanding of the English language.

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