Thursday, 15 July 2010

The song playing in the background


Photo from the collection of Vincente Wolf, in the book "Frida Kahlo," edited by Elizabeth Carpenter

I'm going in and out of reading 'The Lacuna', a small problem as I have it on loan from the library (for the second time) and I'm only on page 244 out of 670 pages and I've just received another overdue notice... It's a slow and sumptuous read but very historically dense in a way I'm not used to seeing in novels. What really struck me today as I was reading is the amazing ability Kingsolver has of taking the narrator, when he writes to Frida, from a third person address into second person intimate register, all in one sentence. As a writer, I feel a bit giddy when this happens in the novel, a bit like I'm on a trapeze and flying through the air and then suddenly caught and passed on into my next mid-air somersault. There is no doubting the craft and skill of her writing.

Here's a passage where this happens. Context: the narrator, Soli, writes a journal about what happens in the Diego/Kahlo household while they are keeping Trotsky safe. Here Soli confronts Kahlo about an affair she has with someone he is in love with.

'She sank delicately into one of the wooden chairs at the yellow table, perched like a canary. "Oh, Soli. You know the frog and me. We can fight about any stupid thing."

"Not to mention the things he doesn't know about."

You looked up then with a child's dread, clutching your shawl as if it might protect you from bullets or ghosts.'

And further on the page, Soli ends this passage:

'This is what it means to be alone: everyone is connected to everyone else, their bodies are a bright liquid life flowing around you, sharing a single heart that drives them to move all together. If the shark comes they will all escape, and leave you to be eaten.' (pages 241-243)

*******

Today's music selection is from The Fray's newer album. I always find myself listening to The Fray when I'm in a sombre mood. Some sound bites--


Say When
Enough for Now

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