dimanche, novembre 03, 2013

Life among the Victorians (lady botanists)

Gotta say that though I thoroughly enjoyed "Eat, Pray, Love," it was with a tince of Jewish guilt.

Having now read Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," I can say that Elizabeth Gilbert's tale of self-discovery, while charming and engaging, had the neatness of a journey neatly edited to exorcise that which didn't fit the writer's desired narrative.

To be just,  I don't know how you can stay totally authentic while describing experiences that are years in the past. Even a journal requires a certain kind of artifice -- unless it is the journal of a madwoman.

In fact, that's one of the great things about writing, particularly writing about grief or confusion -- it gives your rambling mind a frame in which to exercise itself, like a nervous stallion, until it is exhausted and more docile.

I can't really blame Elizabeth Gilbert for delineating  'spiritual, not religious' to a T -- it's not her job to be a member of the paid religious class, a professor or priest.

But I did wish that she would use that fine mind to delve deeper into some of life's big questions.

In "The Signature of All Things" she has, indeed, tackled some of the biggest questions Victorian intellectuals had about biology, spirituality, sex, love and the meaning of life.  Part of the reasons the 19th century still seems so close and yet so far away is because we are still asking many of these questions today.

Be prepared to be satisfied and frustrated, confused and enlightened, exhausted and awed.

Just like Alma, the novel's heroine.

And possibly, very possibly, just like Ms. Gilbert herself, a woman of apparently boundless curiosity.


Aucun commentaire: