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On Goodreads, it says I started reading Love in the Time of Cholera on June 5--which is when I committed to reading it (it's my book group's next book)--but in fact I didn't start it until this past Monday, the 9th. As it happens, I started reading it in a church chapel, the day after Pentecost. As it happens, the story opens on Pentecost--an interesting coincidence.

I was having a hard time getting into it--I read maybe fifteen pages that day.

Today I sat down to read a little more.

I sat down behind a card table in my driveway, because it's the weekend of the neighborhood tag sale, and I thought I'd try to get rid of some things (I didn't; the only things we sold were things we didn't have on offer), including some Chinese floral paintings I inherited from a friend when I helped her clear out a storage unit. One of these was displayed on the card table, held in place by two fist-sized rocks.

And so I read more about eighty-one-year-old Dr. Juvenal Urbino, who hated most animals but loved his parrot, whom he taught to speak French, as well as the Latin accompaniment to the Mass, among other things. He was trying to get this parrot down from a mango tree--he had climbed up a ladder and managed to grab the parrot--but then the ladder slipped out from under him, and JUST as I read these words . . .

(But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday.)

. . . there was a gust of wind and a loud DING noise, and one of the rocks that had been holding the painting down landed on the recto page I was open to, wrinkling it back and tearing it just a little. The DING turned out to be where it hit my coffee mug on its descent.



Pretty dramatic commemoration of a character death!

. . . It's still rather heavy going, reading-wise, though I have liked a couple of things. I'm glad I have some other things to read as well, that are a little less demanding.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
I have that book somewhere and I've been meaning to read it.
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:13 pm (UTC)
This part made me think of you:

No other animal was permitted in the house, with the exception of the land turtle who had reappeared in the kitchen after three or four years, when everyone thought he was lost forever. He, however, was not considered a living being but rather a mineral good luck charm whose location one could never be certain of.

This was also cool:

They also brought in an anaconda, four meters long, whose insomniac hunters's sighs disturbed the darkness in the bedrooms although it accomplished what they had wanted, which was to frighten with its mortal breath the bats and salamanders and countless species of harmful insects that invaded the house during the rainy months.
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
It does.

Hmm, now that I think about it, I might only have One Hundred Years Of Solitude. Oh well, I'll read that.

(did you see the stuff I wrote?)
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
I saw one entry but haven't had a chance to comment, and since then, you've posted another! Intending to later today.
Jun. 15th, 2014 01:39 am (UTC)
I'm sure I've mentioned him before, but have you read John Crowley's Little, Big?
Jun. 15th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)
You know, you probably have, but just now, reading your comment, I actually was prompted to go and read the blurb on Amazon, and it seemed like something I'd really like, so I added it to my to-read list.
Jun. 15th, 2014 02:37 am (UTC)
Otherwise is very very good too. Read it in late summer.
Jun. 17th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
I liked One Hundred Years of Solitude way better than Love in the Time of Cholera. OHYS was one of my friend's all-time favorite books, and I kept trying to read it, and kept quitting after the 3rd page, but finally I pushed past it and loved it. The older I get, the less patience I have for books that take too much energy to read....
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
Whoa! Seems closer to James than Marquez.
Jun. 14th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC)
LOL! I wouldn't know; this is the first I've tried of Marquez and James I read so long ago, all I remember is long sentences.

I'm liking this (see the quotations in the comment to Yamamanama); it's just not *easy*. But that's all right.
Jun. 14th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)

Jun. 15th, 2014 10:48 am (UTC)
It's not as dramatic as getting hit by a meteorite, but that's kind of what it *seemed* like.
Jun. 14th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC)
Weird, weird!
Jun. 15th, 2014 10:48 am (UTC)
Seemed like something the author might invent, which definitely added to the weirdness.
Jun. 15th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
I wonder if whenever you see that chip now, you'll always think of parrots and ladders...
Jun. 15th, 2014 10:49 am (UTC)
I think I'll more likely think of rocks, trajectories, and literary devices, but I would like to think I'd also remember the parrot. I liked the parrot.
Jun. 15th, 2014 12:48 pm (UTC)
A propos of nothing: I first encountered Gabriel Garcia Marquez through description of A Hundred Years of Solitude by a twenty-year-old man who didn't mention the title or the author, and was entirely hung up on cousins having sex and their babies having tails.
Jun. 15th, 2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I love that! I actually think it's great when people encounter a famous *anything* without realizing about the fame. Although, too (because I apparently can't say anything without also unsaying it), it's sometimes not a bad thing to be aware of reputation because you then can read asking yourself the question, why is this so highly regarded.

Both things have their advantages I suppose--both a fresh, uninfluenced approach, and a conscious, deliberate approach.
Jun. 17th, 2014 03:31 am (UTC)
I feel that way about Slaughterhouse Five. Why in the world is it considered one of the "best anti-war novels ever written"? It just seems like of silly, and very Kurt Vonnegut-ish to me....
Jun. 15th, 2014 04:39 pm (UTC)
The bit that concerns Sharmila is I have sent her a whole series of Marquez in English including Love in the Time of cholera. Some of them are probably in Imphal Central Library now. From what I recall it does get very exciting toward the end if you find the impossible love of really old people exciting which I do. That and it is easy to confuse his books because he kept rewriting them. One of his later autobiographies can't remember the name just seemed to be rehashing 100 years as if it were based on family members at least one of whom he could only have met in ghost form because she had died before he was born apparently. I remember panicking towards the end of Love in the Time thinking so many things could go wrong. I remember watching some rom com where this bi-polar son living with his parents wakes them up in the middle of the night to complain about Hemmingway and how he really shouldn't do that to his characters it's a betrayal of his readership, and they agree and then everyone goes back to bed. Not sure why I mention that. I still enjoy the aftertaste of Love in the Time of Cholera until senility sets in no doubt.
Jun. 15th, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely excited to read the rest of it.

And I think I know why you mention that bit about Hemingway and what he does to his characters: as we become invested in characters, we get anxious about what might happen to them--we don't want bad things to happen--and yet of course, sometimes, for the story, it's right for something bad to happen. Real life is different . . .
Jun. 16th, 2014 02:30 pm (UTC)
I don't do magical realism much, but I thought I better fill a gap in my education and picked a short one. I'm enjoying Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Jun. 16th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
Is that also by Gabriel Garcia Marquez?
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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