Plath and Cortazar

While waiting for the other books I started listening to Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar – an audio book narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal (somehow, a good choice to narrate such a thing). It was not easy, listening to the several hours of pondering on how to commit suicide. Sometimes it was getting a bit too much. It happened that I was listening to it on my lunch break. Last week the sun shone brightly in the sky every day and I ate my lunch sandwiches in Stadtpark, sitting on a bench and watching the tourists taking pictures of Strauss and of the trees heavy with blossom. And in my ears there was Plath/Greenwood – disoriented, weak, fearing the electroconvulsive therapy. That, I could not take… but I listened nevertheless. It is rather interesting to see the wealth of possibilities she’d think about whenever she needed an escape door: what she could be, what she would do, where she would go, where she would live, etc. This “possible” life remained though possible throughout. And not real. Something of the sort: It’s either this or nothing! And she’d always bet on the latter. Whatever happened with trying, and trying, and trying. Failing. Getting up. Going further. Finding something else. Perhaps failing again. And then again, getting up. And going on. But I (happily) guess, I’m different. 

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Now I read through Cortazar’s Blow Up. I cannot remember where I read it: someone said that a good novel wins on points (if reading were a boxing match). And a good short story has to win with a K.O. It has to pack a punch strong enough to knock you over after just a few pages. And Cortazar? What a punch he packs with every story! One after another. Left and right.

Axolotl – one has to see these fish (?) to understand what he’s talking about.

And House Taken Over – bang! Such a surreptitious development! The noises getting louder. The doors shutting one after the other.

Or – The Idol of the Cyclades – two timing Teresa!

The guy vomiting little bunnies in Letter to a Young Lady in Paris. Yeah, you read that right!

Continuity of Parks, The Night Face up, Bestiary – wonderful!

And Blow –Up! Or End of Game. Now I’m just about to finish The Pursuer – which is a nice homage to Charlie Parker and written differently than all the other stories.

Reading all these stories I have to make up for myself where everything comes from and where everything is going. Because you are not expected to know everything from the beginning. The only thing you know are the rules of the game. And you realize soon that’s not enough. And then you get punched! K.O. 

 

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