Sunday, 18 August 2013

"A plea for Eros" by Siri Hustvedt

I have just managed to finish reading "A plea for Eros" by Siri Hustvedt, which I could have actually finished soon after having started reading it had I not had such a tight schedule. 

This has been the first book I have read by this author, whom I must admit I had not heard of until I started reading her famous husband's books (Paul Auster) whose surfacing direct and indirect references to their relationship led me to her out of pure curiosity.

I have really enjoyed it mostly because of her "writing with rigorous honesty about her own divided self (...) elegantly combining intellect, emotion, wit and passion."  

As I always seem to do with every book that has touched me in some way I copy down some paragraphs.

"All wishes, however wrong-headed  or noble or ephemeral, must have an object and that object  is usually more ideal than real."

"Things and nothings. Bodies and nobodies. The ground and the air. The tangible and the intangible. (...) Illusion is generally coupled with its opposite, reality, but where is the real? Is reality found in the tangible and illusion in the intangible?"

"Whatever we might pretend not to see or hear or sometimes smell on our sojourns, most of us actually see, hear and smell a lot. Behind the mask of oblivion lies alertness ( or exhaustion from having to be so alert). (...) compliments, insults, banter, smiles and genuine conversations among strangers are part of a city's noise, its stimulus, its charm. To live in strict accordance to the Pretend Law all the time would be unbearably dull. For us urbanites, both for the born and bred (...) there is a delight that comes from thinking on our feet, from sizing up situations and making decisions to act or not to act. Most of the time we insulate ourselves out of necessity, but every once in a while we break through to one another and discover unexpected depths of intelligence or heart or just plain sweetness. And whenever that happens, I am reminded of a truth: Everyone has an inner life that is as large and complex and rich as my own. Sometimes a brief exchange with an unknown person marks you forever, not because it si profound but because it is uncommonly vivid."

"As a reader of books, I am convinced that words have an almost magical power to generate, not only more words but fleeting images, emotions, and memories. Certain novels and poems have had a power to unearth raw and unknown parts of myself, have been like mirrors I never knew existed. In every book, the writer's body is missing and this absence turns the page into a place where we are truly free to listen to the man or woman who is speaking."

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