Thursday, 14 July 2011
Mainly that's because I left it out in the sunlight last Saturday, though.
It's exhausting to be inside the heads of characters in the way that Joyce Carol Oates puts you inside the heads of characters. You feel like you've been digging in fields for hours at a time, excavating personality-dirt.
The Mulvaneys were a very happy family, but the only daughter goes through a terrible experience and instead of helping her, the family falls apart. Why is that? The image was more important than the reality for them, I think. But this is open to interpretation. All good literary novels going into this amount of psychological depth allow you to add your own interpretation, right? That's what this kind of novel is for. It's not going to give you answers. It's going to make you work.
I can see why people read Mills and Boons occasionally.
It's a wonderful book, even if it does make you sweat. Here's a veg-heavy section where the daughter, Marianne, goes to visit her brother Patrick in college. He cannot forgive what has happened to her. Yet she never blamed anybody but herself. Marianne cooks a meal. She's become a wonderful cook; she likes to give freely of her food. She brought the ingredients with her specially.
They sat down to eat. Marianne's minestrone was the most delicious soup Patrick had ever tasted; steaming-hot, in stoneware bowls, a thick broth seasoned with fresh basil and oregano, containing chunks of celery, tomato, carrots, red onion, beans, chickpeas and macaroni. The nine-grain whole wheat bread was crumbly, chewy, delicious, too. And a green salad with red leaf lettuce and endive, cucumber, peper, alfalfa sprouts, a vinegar-and-oil dressing flavoured with dill. Patrick was surprised at his appetite, his hunger.