Wide Sargasso Sea: WHELP!

SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!

Out of the blue, the husband receives a very detailed letter from someone he doesn’t know.

The letter is laced with familiarity and assures the man that he is writing out of a sincere desire to open his eyes. Therefore, this man is bad, the wife is bad, please “come and see me quickly. Your obt servant. Daniel Cosway.” An excerpt from the letter:

  • Richard Mason is a sly man and he will tell you a lot of nancy stories, which is what we call lies here, about what happen at Coulibri and this and that. Don’t listen. Make him answer — yes or no.

Can you imagine the effort and concentration this Cosway put into writing such a letter? What determination he possessed? And what cunning? He knew exactly what words to write, what buttons to push.

Cosway has cunning in spades.

The husband is so weak and so out-of-his-depth that he immediately decides that Cosway must be an ally (and not crazy): It was as if I’d expected it, been waiting for it.

A few pages earlier, the husband admits he does not love his wife, she was a stranger. Self is completely revising her opinion of him. (So what if the wife is a stranger? The letter writer is also a stranger, you stupid stupid man!)

Stay tuned.

Still More Liquid!

Bright and early Saturday morning, self was in front of SFMOMA. She had tickets for the opening day of the Rene Magritte exhibit. There was a crowd waiting for the doors to open at 10 a.m.

Below was one of the first Magrittes she saw. Of course, she immediately thought: THE DAILY POST PHOTO CHALLENGE! Good thing they allowed pictures.

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Rene Magritte at SFMOMA

This morning, self had her usual cup of coffee: Organic Rendezvous Brew, purchased at Moody’s in Mendocino. The cup she used was something she bought at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, years ago: that’s a triceratops, half-submerged in her coffee:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Books Or Paper

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is BOOKS OR PAPER.

At first, self was just going to post a picture of the book she is currently reading: Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys (It is a really harrowing read, there is such delicacy in the language, but such cruelty between people). She took several pictures of the book cover, and then thought it might be interesting to include pictures of the bookmark she’s been using, a 500 rupee note, a souvenir from a 2012 trip to India. (500 rupees is about $7). It was stuck in the back of a drawer, and she just happened to stumble across it:

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And then she took a closer look at the 500-rupee note:

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Wonder if the man with the wooden staff is Mahatma Ghandi? What do dear blog readers think?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

What Is a Zombi? WIDE SARGASSO SEA, p. 97

A zombi is a dead person who seems to be alive or a living person who is dead. A zombi can also be the spirit of a place, usually malignant but sometimes to be propitiated with sacrifices or offerings of flower and fruit . . .  They cry out in the wind that is their voice, they rage in the sea that is their anger.

 

Mother of All Lists (May 2018)

  • Best book self has read so far this year: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, Book 2 of His Dark Materials
  • The book it has taken self the longest to read so far this year: Banana Yoshimoto’s Moshi Moshi (33 days)
  • The longest story self has written so far: Alex (27 pages)
  • The number of literary contests self has joined so far this year: 7
  • The fastest rejection self has received so far this year: Rhino (8 days)
  • Number of pieces self has placed so far this year: 1
  • Number of novels self has read so far this year, including the one she is currently reading (Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea): 10
  • Most Fabulous Food Discovery of the Year: Hot Buttered Popcorn, Stanford Theatre, downtown Palo Alto, CA

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tagged on Facebook: Your 10 Most Influential Albums

Here are self’s first five:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Groom & His New Bride: Wide Sargasso Sea, p. 78

Self will admit, half the time she doesn’t know what’s going on in Wide Sargasso Sea.

It’s supposed to be about the first Mrs. Rochester from Jane Eyre, but self hasn’t been reading it like that, she’s been reading as if it’s a complete, stand-alone work of fiction.

It wasn’t until this morning that she realized Part Two was from the man’s point of view. When she realized that, it was like a big light bulb went off in her head, and she began to read in a state of absolute suspense, wondering when the man would wake up to the fact that his bride was cray-cray.

It seems the man was very unsure about the whole ‘getting-married-to-someone-you’ve-never-met’ business, but after the wedding night “My fever weakness left me, so did all misgivings.”

The Mrs. does remind self a little of Philip Pullman’s Lyra Belacqua, but the man is definitely no Will Parry; he’s too obtuse.

p. 78:

I drank another cup of Bull’s Blood . . . “How did you get that dressing table up here?”

“I don’t know. It’s always been here ever since I can remember. A lot of the furniture was stolen, but not that.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Flowers and Insects: Wide Sargasso Sea, p. 73

There is some gorgeously lush writing on pp. 73 – 74 of Wide Sargasso Sea:

There were trailing pink flowers on the table and the name echoed pleasantly in my head. Coralita, Coralita. The food, though too highly seasoned, was lighter and more appetizing than anything I had tasted in Jamaica. We drank champagne. A great many moths and beetles found their way into the room, flew into the candles and fell dead on the tablecloth. Amelié swept them up with a crumb brush. Uselessly. More moths and beetles came.

“Is it true,” she said, “that England is like a dream? Because one of my friends who married an Englishman wrote and told me so. She said this place London is like a cold dark dream sometimes.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Child Support Office” from FINGERPRINTS OF A HUNGER STRIKE, by Tony Robles

At the entrance was a very large security guard chatting with another man who referred to him as Dinnerplate. Having recently been employed as a security guard, I felt a connection with my uniformed brethren. “Excuse me . . . uh . . .  Dinnerplate,” I said. “Can you tell me where I can give my updated contact information?” He gave me a stern look. “My name is Officer Fortune,” he said, “William A. Fortune, and you will address me as such!” I looked at the tattoo on his neck. It read Dinnerplate in cursive, although he may have been better served had it read Thinnerplate. “OK,” I replied, heading to the customer service windows where I was told — in so many words — to sit down, shut up, and wait my turn like a good boy . . .

What’s Available in The Only Bookstore in Redwood City, CA

Self is reviewing her reading list. Really, it’s become almost an obsession. She goes into the closest bookstore to her house, the Barnes & Noble in Sequoia Station, and out of a list of 22 book titles (novels published 2017), she found just these three:

  • As Lie Is to Grin, by Simeon Marsalis
  • Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
  • Mikhail and Margarita, by Julie Lekstrom Himes

She doesn’t wish to knock her neighborhood Barnes & Noble because it really is a good store, with a better-than-average fiction section. Anyhoo, congratulations to authors Marsalis, Saunders and Himes for having their books in the store.

BTW, an island book which was recently published and which self highly recommends is Lillian Howan’s The Charm Buyers, set in Tahiti. She read it when it was first published last year and it is just the most luscious thing.

A week ago, self went back to her B & N, toting along a list of 60 titles, all recommended by her fellow Hawthornden writers in June 2012 (She found this list again just a few weeks ago; it was stuck in a drawer), and all she found in the store were these:

  • The Things They Carried and The Lake in the Woods, by Tim O’Brien
  • Travels With Charley, by John Steinbeck
  • The Crimson Petal and the White, by Michael Faber
  • Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

Granted, the Hawthornden list is made up of books at least several years old.

When she was last in Mendocino, she took her list of Island Books to Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, and the salesperson, a very nice young man, told her: “With all due respect, these books are pretty old.” (I’d say! For example, these titles: To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, published 1927; The Fish Can Sing, by Halldor Laxness, published 1957; A House For Mr. Biswas, by V. S. Naipaul; published ___ decades ago?; Greenvoe, by George Mackay Brown, published 1972)

She found Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey and when she was paying for it, she kept telling the bookstore person who rang up the sale: This is a very good book! Why do you only have one copy?

And the beleaguered staff person had to say: Well, we don’t normally have people come in from the street asking for The Odyssey.

Poor guy! Self didn’t mean to be so insistent but she is absolutely relentless in her quest for the Holy Grail — er, for the books on her list!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

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