Sunday, 31 March 2013

Romain Gary "Promise at Dawn"

I have long been thinking to have a section dedicated to mothers. Here is the chance to open it. 

This winter, I saw a play based on the book by Romain Gary "Promise at Dawn", in which one French talented actor played Romain Gary and his mother at the same time. It is a poignant story. We laughed and cried. Romain Gary's mother is something. She is eccentric and her boundless love for her son is even despotic.

She, in spite of poverty and exile status (Romen Gary and his mother were immigrants from Lithuania), filled him with knowledge that he would become the ambassador of France, a famous writer, a hero and will dress in London! From his childhood she would proclaim her "predictions " with aplomb and no hesitation tete a tete and often in front of people . What struck me most is how parents' messages direct lives of children. As his mother predicted Romain Gary did become a world-famous writer, the Consul General of France, member of the Resistance, a Knight of the Legion of Honor. He even dressed in London, though he hated English cut. He just had no choice. 

The dose of his mother's love surpassed the norm, it was always present in his life, even after her death, it hid him from death in the war and rose him to the incredible heights in life.

Parents' messages is an incredible phenomena. How strongly we always react to the words of our parents, even as adults, even if separated by thousands of miles, even if not seeing each other for decades.  Who are we? What is our achievement in life and what is the result of what our parents have told us?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

"French Lieutenant's Woman" John Fowles

It is genius!!!

Now let’s talk.

There are stories that have to be read slowly with breaks, sometimes with a glass of wine. "French Lieutenant's Woman" by Fowles is one of them. I relished the story, enjoyed the erudition and generosity of the author. The novel was a revelation. It is not a fast food, so it deserves expensive surroundings and time.

The rhythm of the narrative coincides with the pace of the middle of 19th century' life. You feel like walking slowly in the woods, examining in detail all around, sometimes you sit down on a stump and your eyes catch details of which, if not Fowles, you would not have thought. In short, it is not an action story.

The author is very visible, he constantly interferes, comments, sometimes goes into a totally different direction. And I like what he does, because if he stays behind, subtle and invisible like Chekhov in his plays, a superficial reader (like me) will not think it through.

I liked that Victorian England was spoon-fed to me. This is not a novel; it is above all a great guide on Victorian England. Fowles touches all aspects of history: religion, science, sanctimonious morality, customs and traditions of all sections. The text is smart and it can be divided into many citations. As a stylist I found Fowles’s comments on clothes and fashion marvelous. The characters are described very well, and it was through them Fowles was able to convey the mood of the époque and the changes occurring during that time. Despite the slow pace and thoroughness, Fowles surprises by twists in the plot.

Now, about Sarah, the main character. At first I thought it would be another version of Anna Karenina, Lady Macbeth, or the main character of the Awakening by Kate Chopin. Sarah immediately fit into the famous list of ostracized women. I was looking forward to read the "English" version of events, however I got surprised...