I’ve taken a few breaks from my NaNoWriMo work to finish this book. As I have mentioned, it is unlike any other that I have ever read. It has a forward motion in a sense, but it also circles back to bring forth observations that the narrator has already made or memories she has already mentioned. Often she uses the same sentences. Sometimes she uses those sentences in a form that while altered just slightly produces an entirely different effect.
There is no real plot to speak of, and yet it kept me engaged all the way through in a way that other books that have traditional plots have not been able to do. This made me wonder often what it was that was keeping me reading. The best answer that I could come up with was that I wanted to know more about this woman. I wanted to hear how she had come to where she was. I wanted to understand her mind.
She fills her life with all these thoughts of art and artists, writers and books, philosophers and philosophical thoughts. I wondered what purpose these served for her, whether they were roundabout ways of addressing subjects she didn’t want to think about or whether the loneliness and silence of her life created a void that needed to be filled with so much noise, like a hermit or a castaway talking to himself.
Really, I don’t understand it. At least not in any real and meaningful way, like the guy who wrote the afterword. Although there certainly is something there in my mind. It’s as though I’ve picked something up from this novel that I can’t quite see, like it’s a bit of a blur and if I only put on the right pair of glasses it would jump suddenly into perfect focus.
It’s put me in a rather thoughtful mood, as you can see. I’m writing this just having finished the last page. Whatever mood I’m in now is at least partially what the book has inspired in me.
One thing I keep turning to is a line by Michelangelo that the narrator quoted only twice: “You will say that I am old and mad, but I answer that there is no better way of being sane and free from anxiety than by being mad.”
Think about it.