Sunday, May 25, 2008

From my Bookshelf: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

Recently read this book after the recommendation, "If you want to understand love, you need to read this book."

Here are three passages that made me make a sort of painful audible groan of agreement when I read them.

"I'm thinking of a certain September: Wood pigeon Red Admiral Yellow Harvest Orange Night. You said, "I love you". Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear? "I love you" is always a quotation. You did not say it first and neither did I, yet when you say it and when I say it we speak like savages who have found three words and worship them...

...It's the clichés that cause the trouble. A precise emotion seeks a precise expression. If what i feel is not precise then should I call it love? It is so terrifying, love, that all I can do is shove it under a dump bin of pink cuddly toys and send myself a greetings card saying, "Congratulations on your Engagement". But I am not engaged I am deeply distracted. I am desperately looking the other way so that love won't see me. I want the diluted version, the sloppy language, the insignificant gestures. The saggy armchair of clichés. It's all right, millions of bottoms have sat here before me. The springs are well worn, the fabric smelly and familiar...

...I miss you Louise. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. What then kills love? Only this: Neglect. Not to see you when you stand before me. Not to think of you in the little things. Not to make the road for you, the table spread for you. To choose you out of habit not desire, to pass the flower seller without a thought. To leave the dishes unwashed, the bed unmade, to ignore you in the mornings, make use of you at night. To crave another while pecking your cheek. To say you name without hearing it, to assume it is mine to call."

Give it a read.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I put it on my book list.
C'est toujours saisissant de voir l'habileté que certains écrivains ont, à traduire en mots avec précision, des idées ou des images souvent embrouillées ou incomprises.