Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review

Today is Monday, 15 February 2010.

Grief is a price of admission to love.

The Year of Magical Thinking is Joan Didion’s memoir of broken-heartedness, a book which can be read “only this much” before it must be laid aside for some moments in which one re-composes oneself.

Which I mean in literary, musical, and emotional senses.

“Nine months and five days ago, at approximately nine o’clock on the evening of December 30, 2003, my husband, John Gregory Dunne, appeared to (or did) experience, at the table where he and I had just sat down to dinner in the living room of our apartment in New York, a sudden massive coronary event that caused his death. Our only child, Quintana, had been for the previous five nights unconscious in an intensive care unit…”

The moment when the heart is torn forever out of your life, and one must go on.

Didion contemplates, writes, of her roles as mother and wife:

“You’re safe.

I’m here.”

Has she failed both her child and husband?

Reviews are usually the review author’s words. Sometimes, that’s appropriate. Sometimes, not.

These words are Didion’s.

“Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief, required attention.”

She quotes the tragic Delmore Schwartz:

“Time is the school in which we learn
Time is the school in which we burn”.

Once upon a time, I wrote book reviews for a provincial newspaper, including a Didion book. Too often, book reviews are full more of the reviewer, and not the reviewed.

Grief is a price of admission to love.

Fortunate those worthy of such broken-heartedness.


Anonymous x said...

What a downer way to look at things.

12:20 PM  

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