10-03-2007 06:53 PM
Because the writing itself is such a strong and immediate element of this novel, I'm sorry I didn't put this thread up right away. Some of us find Claire's complex, brilliant sentences a welcome engagement, and I'd love to hear of any favorite early passages.
I might have to chose something from the introduction to Bootie, but I'd have a hard time deciding which passage, because I'm actually taken by him. I love the first picture of him in worn flannel pjs, trying to cover his round belly and showing his skinny ankle, AND I like his chapter in the tub, making his way through Infinite Jest (which I haven't done) and barely able to read poetry.
Another favorite of mine is the description of Danielle's apartment as a kind of self-portrait in chapter twelve: "Her Self, then, was represented in her books; her times in her records; and the rest of the room she thought of as a pure, blank slate."
Don't you see your own bookshelves as either a representation of your thoughts or of what you hope to think? There's something very humorous in the idea.
10-03-2007 08:47 PM
I laughed out loud at this section; it was delicious, hilarious farce of concerned, self-important fatherhood.
On p. 71, Marina enters her father's private study to ask his advice. The study setting is a dragon's lair, and her father a dragon.
"I know the door was shut--but I thought--I really need to talk to you---"
"...and with a sigh, the sigh of parental responsibility, he resigned himself. He shuffled his papers, slid them into their folder, turned it facedown, all with a nonchalance that suggested they were of no possible importance, and shifted himself in his chair, so that he could look properly at his daughter and, as she required of him, converse."
"But Daddy, what am I going to do?"
Murray Thwaite blinked....he knew she was bright...intelligent enough for there to be no excuse, no possible excuse for this behavior. He manifested his displeasure by breathing, dragon-like though his nose. He could feel his nostrils flaring."
She leaves his study; he has given her absolutely no real advice:
"Once Marina had gone, Murray Thwaite sat again before his open folder. He took a clean sheet of paper and wrote at the top: "Chapter Ten: Counseling an Adult Daughter." He crossed this out, wrote "Conversations with an Adult Daughter'; and then, "A Grown Child Ponders How to Live." At the last, he settled upon "Talking to a Grown Child," which words sat in the middle of the page in black ink, in his long, narrow capital letters.
I just love Claire Messud's writing!
"I am a part of everything that I have read."
10-09-2007 12:47 PM
10-16-2007 11:29 PM
"Didn't think so. Come on, let's shut the door. It'll be as if you never came in here...."
Just these few short lines tell so much about Marina & Murray, their relationship - how similarly helpless they are- and the family dynamic. And it doesn't bode well for Bootie who later comes to use the bed where Pope died.
10-25-2007 06:46 AM
I think this quote sums up what a lot of people learned on September 11.
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.