Even before I had a copy of any book by Siri Hustvedt, I was already keen on liking her prose mainly because Bennard said I would love her. Which, for all I know, is a contrived effort to make Hustvedt my new favorite author--Hustvedt that is wife to Paul Auster, one of Bennard's favorites. Well, planned or not, it appears that he is right. I loved Hustvedt instantly, the love-at-first-few-pages kind.Aside from being my first novel by new favorite author, The Summer Without Men is also my first contemporary feminist book. And a memorable one at that. The characters are mainly women--Mia the Awesome Protagonist, the Swans in Rolling Meadows, the teen witches of Bonden, Lola the Neighbor-turned-Friend, Bea the Tough Sister, and Daisy the Lively Daughter. Even psychiatrist Dr. S. is a female! They were not portrayed as perfect, all-knowing, and righteous--it wouldn't be realistic if they were, and I would've disliked the book if such was the case--but as strong personalities who accepted life's blows and dealt with them in ways they know best. Men were present in the story too, but they are more of a backdrop, appearing in recollections, letters, and in the periphery. In this book, men were depicted as both the storm and the cooling rain. The storm that some women must weather through in order to be stronger, wiser. The cooling rain that soothes and comforts, the reason for a smile.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This is Hymne a l'Amour, a beautiful song I first heard from the Italian movie, Cinema Paradiso. The song has been playing on loop for a while now and yet, this sentence is the nearest thing to progress I have ever accomplished in trying to put into writing all my feelings for the said film. I cheat by finding motivation through the music. I was expecting an overflow of things to say but I only got a surge of wordless emotions. Listening to instrumental music similar to this takes me back to a particular scene when I was twelve.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Whether we are its readers or writers, a love story is invested with many guilty pleasures. We remember our own lives, when we are lovers and had lovers. We imagine having the strength, or the weakness, to yield to the uncharted and the forbidden. We wish for a love to take us away from the reality of the present. We relish the encounter, taking it on with recklessness and youthful abandon. Our pulse rushes and our throats tighten. We feel a dull ache. The story takes us, and we fall in love, literary predilections be damned.
This is an excerpt from the Introduction of Fourteen Love Stories, an anthology of stories written by Filipinos. Its first featured story, Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez, was our book club's "book/story of the month" for February and so when Bennard chanced upon a copy in NBS-Katipunan, he immediately bought it. I have read Dead Stars back in high school but since it's only sixteen pages long, why not refresh my memory, right? Besides, when we read a story a second or third time, we tend to find new details we might have overlooked the first time, or discover a new interpretation based on new experiences we've undergone since our last encounter with the said story. So I read it again and, true enough, I got to relive past emotions and more--feelings that were incomprehensible to my high schooler version who only thought of coming up with a reflection essay for English 2.