Thursday, 29 May 2014

Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

I decided to buy this book 'cause I loved Life of Pi, I read it when it was just released, so long before the book became actually famous due to the movie- which, by the way, is a rare case of a great movie from a great book.

From the first pages I thought: "Wow, it seems like another writer", but not in a negative way, I liked the fact that a writer can write with such different styles but can still keep you reading and loving the book.
The common factor is, of course, the presence of animals as strong characters in the book(s). In this case they are a monkey and a donkey, two animals that you would probabily never see together in nature but that here seem somehow a good match. The first half of the book is magic, it is a story in a story, the story of a writer which helps another writer, a book in a book, but I would not spoil much the plot here 'cause the book is quite small.
What I have to spoil though is that in the last 40-50 pages the story changes so much, that all the sweetness and the trust you had in human, and animal relationship is lost like a slap on your face!
For what I understood the book is suppose to be a metaphor of the Holocaust and I guess the idea was to bring the reader to find the truth with violence, like during the war, where people were brought on a train for "freedom" and then they had to realize on their skin which kind of freedom was awaiting them.
 I just thought the book was very pretentious, and a bit disappointing, but I like and want  to believe that was the actual aim of the writer.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

He is gone, his books are not, there is no better way to remember him than through his books. So here it is my second reading of this masterpiece. A slow, emotional, touching one...

Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza fall secretly in love during their youth, a love made of letters, flowers, poems, a love at first sight that grew with time. But when a rich doctor (Dr. Juvenal Urbino) comes into the picture, this passionate love is forced to be put on hold, for more than 50 years...
And those 50 years you feel them all, coz the reading is for some sort of magic extended in time. I felt the last 100 pages lasted forever, every time I thought I was about to finish the book, still some pages where there to be read. And I think this is what can make you love or hate this book. Yes, this, along with the fact that nobody wishes to have to wait 50 years to embrace their love, coz you wish nobody sane would allow himself to such suffering for so long. But Florentino does, and I didn't feel for one single page to tell him to do otherwise.
As for every Márquez book, the engagement of different senses is the key, the first time Fermina and Dr. Juvenal Urbino make love are one of the most intense pages I have ever read on the topic, without rhetoric or explicit sexuality.

“Together they had overcome the daily incomprehension, the instantaneous hatred, the reciprocal nastiness, and fabulous flashes of glory in the conjugal conspiracy. It was time when they both loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity. Life would still present them with other moral trials, of course, but that no longer mattered: they were on the other shore.”

p.s. maybe one day I should convince myself to watch the movie adpted from the book, or maybe not...