Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Divisadero: Finished 2009.03.14

ISBN: 978-0-7710-6872-0 (0-7710-6872-7)

Began February 18, 2009;
Finished March 14, 2009.

Beautifully written.
Almost every sentence sings the English language fantastic.
The story is both very simple and complicated.
Simple because the mysteries are open,
but complicated because the mysteries are of the human heart expressed with an emotive sensuality that is nigh incomparable.
Truly, one of the most exquisitely beautifully written books,
of either prose or poetry, with which the English language has been blessed.
Ondaatje has done the impossible,
and surpassed the beauty of his Booker prize winning Anil's Ghost and The English Patient.
This book demands that you start reading it again from beginning,
to inhale anew its power to renew and revitalize the possibility of life in text.
The 'smallest possible space' is where Anna wishes to be now. The truth of her life comes out only in places like this. There are times when she needs to hide in a stranger's landscape, to the still undiminished violence of her bloodied and naked self between her father and Coop, the moment of violence that deformed her, all of them. Anna, who keeps herself at a distance from those who show anger or violence, just as she is still fearful of true intimacy. Her past is hidden from everyone. She has never turned to a lover or friends when they speak about families (and she always inquires of their families) and spoken of her childhood. The terrible beating of Coop, the weapon of glass entering her father's shoulder as she tried to kill him. Even now she cannot enter that afternoon's episode with safety. A wall of black light holds her away from it. But she can imagine her sister riding her horse in the Sierras, wearing small bells on her wrist to warn wildlife of her approach, conscious of all the possibilities of danger. Just as she herself works in archives and discovers every past but her own, again and again.
She and Rafael keep between them a formality that makes them careful with each other. They have stepped into this friendship the way solitaries in medieval times might have bundled together for the night before journeying on towards a destination of marriage or war. So that Anne is not aware that the casualness in Rafael she witnesses is inconsistent with his nature (save for the territorial precision with which he flicked that bee of his guitar in her presence a few days earlier), while he knows scarcely a thing about her. Who is she? This woman who had led him into this medicine cabinet of a room where most of her possessions exist — books, journals, passport, a carefully folded map, archival tapes, even the soap she has brought with her from her other world. As if this orderly collection of things is what she is. So we fall in love with ghosts

So he stayed with her and married her?
They never married, but she was his wife, yes. He stayed and lived in the caravan with her. My mother told me he had had another wife, before the war, but she referred to it only once. The war was a chasm for most. There was one life before and one life afterwards. Many decided not to back to what they had been.
It's a good excuse. The war

With the stepfather's unexpected death, in spite of some inherited wealth, Odile Segura and the boy reduced their way of life. There had been little protecting the boy's world save for that careful man. Now Lucien became more cautious and secretive. In classrooms, the others heard his closeted speech patterns. He has spent too long conversing with just himself. As he grew older he had private words, as if collected twig by twig from an open field. He spoke a few sentences to himself about a trusted gate, or an animal's nervousness on entering a boat, and that spoken scene would become indelible to him. Already he protected himself with words, with the small and partial clarity they brought