This too shall pass…and it … did pretty quickly.
Have you ever felt the feeling of utter loss when people all around you are raving about this a particular cheese in the market and when you taste it is feels like a block of stinky yellow underwear? And you find yourself standing with a handful of this goop and really wonder at the deeper questions of life like…. Maybe I am really an android and have artificial taste buds or that my brain has finally malfunctioned and too bad I can’t get a spare. Sometimes I don’t understand how things stand in this zany world. I truly believe that to be sane one has to be a little insane. But then there are times when I wonder…
I received this book from Blogging for Books for an unbiased review two days ago and I was pretty excited to jump right into it. There are encouraging reviews at the back, mainly the Harper’s Bazaar’s, “Full of subtle wisdom”, which catches my fancy. Moreover, the cover promises wisdom through a chic contour of a woman in the sun, shaded by a white hat and I think how very être sophistiqué.
The book starts clean and crisp as it has promised from its onset, “For some strange reason, I never considered what it would be like to be forty.” This book is a snippet into the life of a middle aged woman who has recently lost her mother. The whole premise is concisely written in its synopsis and seemed to offer a quirky refreshing look at how a permanent loss affects the person who has the most to lose. The story begins and begins some more, and I wait for it to develop and wait and wait and wait and then it is The End. Blanca is lost. I like lost characters with tragic flaws. But her flaws are not tragic, they are childish, which she seems to understand too. She knows she is trapped in a viscous cycle and she feels incapable to extract herself out of it. Reading this book through her mind, I couldn’t connect to her because of her one-dimensional outset. There is so much potential in her but I feel Milena Busquets only tried to bring out the truth in her. Blanca has been confused in life, men and relationships. She doesn’t have a career or a job or ‘a thing to do’ except to shop and drink, to do a little drugs and sleep with anyone that catches her fancy. She is fickle and cannot commit and somehow all men find her irresistible even when she is at her worst.
In this book there are lots of reveries about men, some obsessions, mild musings, some flashbacks and very little dialogue. I knew from the start that this would be a character driven novel rather than a story driven one, but nothing really happens. The main character and all her friends, ex-husbands and her lover are gathered in a scenic town and… and … well that is all! I have nothing against the mundane, but the reader needs to build some sort of a relationship with the words on the page. The characters are forgettable. That being said, I did wonder all through the night what would become of Blanca, would she grow up and find her way and truly enrichen her life or sludge through the meaningless cycle she has created for herself.
There are some rarities in this book. There are a few brilliantly written passages which lift the reader out of Soma.
“Something solemn floats in the atmosphere, the wonder that always accompanies birth, whether it be human or animal. There’s that fanciful yet nonetheless overwhelming feeling of almost being able to brush the very beginning of things with the tips of your fingers, the eternal bliss.”
“But I think I’d have fallen in love with Cadaques even if I had only stopped by one afternoon in my way somewhere else, even if I were from the other side of the world and shared no cultural baggage, no language, no memories, nothing else that ties me to the steep, craggy landscape and its cul-de-sac shore line, where the silly pink sunsets are whipped by a black wind to fade over the seas, where everything pushes you out toward the clouds and the sky.
What can be made of this book? Blanca yearns for her mother and despises her and adores her and feels a gaping hole in her center. It is a confusing relationship that Milena Busquets had gotten right to the dot. A mother daughter relationship is engaging and alienating and Blanca’s inner ranting monologues and soliloquys is what I will be taking away with me.
“For a long time, the only love story I cared about was ours.”_ Blanca’s mind
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