Friday, April 09, 2010

Must-read: Written on the Body

Tonight I finished reading Written on the Body (1992) by Jeanette Winterson. I've read one other Winterson book in the university called The Passion and I loved that book so much I read it twice. Our teacher who assigned us that book also recommended Written on the Body and I have long been curious about it until luckily I found the novel in some second-hand bookshop.

The first page of the book is already a thing of beauty, with lines as: "You said, 'I love you.' Why is it that the most unoriginal thing we can say to one another is still the thing we long to hear?". Right there I knew I was in for a good book.

It is definitely a worthy read, mostly intriguing because the main character is nameless and is gender-less. He/she sleeps with both men and women, names of which the character mentions in many parts of the book it's sometimes hard to keep track who is whom.But at the center of his/her obsession is Louise, a married woman with whom the main character cheats (he/she is also dating someone at the same time).

I find the language beautifully languid and introspective. The character has a tendency to ramble, albeit beautifully, taking a fascination with random things against which to refer his/her romantic escapade.

The novel is about passion as much as loss, where all love affairs end. " 'You'll get over it...' It's the cliches that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don't get over it because 'it' is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes."

For some reason, these lines reminded me of my dad's passing away a few months ago. Since his death, I've had about four dreams in which images of him flash and ultimately I find my self crying hysterically in my dream. It always wakes me up and I could feel my heart beating very fast. I expect my self to be actually crying because in my dream I'm like seriously bawling, but I find the pillow dry.

There had been no day that I did not think of my dad. I'm sure it's pretty normal and I don't get particularly sad whenever I think of him. At this stage, I'm just proud of my dad and what he achieved and I would like to think he is fondly remembered by some people as well.

Nonetheless, I could not help feeling a sense of emptiness whenever I realize I will never see him again. I guess this is what Winterson means, that to lose someone creates a void in you no one and nothing can fill and it will remain a void forever. And I guess if that means remembering him with fondness and love, I have every reason to honor his memory everyday.

I'm still constantly concerned how my mom is coping though. I still cannot imagine what she is going through, and it does not help that there had been no opportunity for her and me to talk about what she's feeling. Luckily, she is coming to BKK for a visit, along with my sister and brother.

1 comment:

Was Once said...

Your own father's death reinforces your own finite place in this world. Use it to lessen expectations in your relationships and with others, loving more than wanting to be loved.


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