There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone

2011/02/24 § Leave a comment

I just finished reading the History of Love
for the xth time. It was, however, the first time I could rightfully call the book in my hand for my own. Which leads to scribbling in between the lines (of course). Mainly “bitch” and “…”. Anyway. This is not supposed to be a review (haha) but just somewhere to put ideas, quotes and notes related to this novel. As always, this shit is biased. It centers around me.

I forced myself to picture the last moments. The penultimate breath. A final sigh. And yet. It was always followed by another.

The book is written by Nicole Krauss, the wife of Jonathan Safran Foer (“For Jonathan, my life” – the reason why the first “bitch” was scribbled. I can, at times, be quite jealous). Putting aside my envy for this lady’s private life (if it was up to me, all the people who are good with words would be closed into a house where they could be taken outside for my listening pleasure, and mine only. MINE.), this book is very sweet and there is a slight possibility I would have to actually let her live in the house.

Only now that my son was gone did I realize how much I’d been living for him. When I woke up in the morning it was because he existed, and when I ordered food it was because he existed, and when I wrote my book it was because he existed to read it.

The parts copied from the History of Love (the book within the book) are my favourite passages of the book, but I am quite fond of Leo Gursky and Bird, not-so-much-but-still-a-little fond of Alma. OH, and Bruno. Gursky is, however, probably the one I like the most, his whole mindset and thoughts concerning himself and the world are extremely fascinating to me.

At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.

I like the use of graphic design in this book, but there can always be more. When used correctly, there is nothing more beautiful than visual aid. Unconventional typography is also used “frequently” in this book, another point which pops up quite a lot when I list my favourite literature.

“What about you? Are you the happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been?”
“Of course I am.”
“Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you.”

The book deals with things that have been lost. Love is surprisingly enough an important aspect of the loss and loneliness touched upon in the novel (no, really!) What I think made me like this book (besides the graphics and such) are the way contrasts are blended together; young and old, heartbreak and humor, love and loss (and the way it is a book about a book, but that is perhaps besides the point (but omg stories-in-stories <3 <3)).

She’s kept her love for him as alive as the summer they first met. In order to do this, she’s turned life away. Sometimes she subsists for days on water and air. Being the only known complex life-form to do this, she should have a species named after her. Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father. And to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.

You made a profession out of losing. A champion loser you were. And yet. Where’s the proof you ever had her? Where’s the proof that she was yours to have?

Either I could run away and never go back to school again, maybe even leave the country as a stowaway on a ship bound for Australia. Or I could risk everything and confess to her. The answer was obvious: I was going to Australia.
They wanted to feel more, feel deeper, despite how much it sometimes hurt. People became addicted to feeling. They struggled to uncover new emotions. It’s possible that this is how art was born. New kinds of joys were forged, along with new kinds of sadness: the eternal disappointment of life as it is; the relief of unexpected reprieve; the fear of dying.
Just… go here for more.

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