Tuesday, September 6, 2016

My mother's books

My mother’s books

After my mother passed away, my stepfather said: you can take the English books away. I took them and have in the mean time read most of them. Some are by good authors like William Burroughs, Tennessee Williams, Irwin Shaw, James Michener, Pearl Buck, Truman Capote, Larry Mac Murthy and also Louisville Saturday by Margaret Long: soldiers and lonely women, love, ecstasy and heartbreak.

The rest: trash pure and unadulterated, rather sexualized trash. But then the other day I spotted a French book by Simone de Beauvoir. I could have that one too. My mother had had a good education, has been in a French speaking boarding school, so the language didn’t surprize me. The title: La femme rompue (The torn woman). It was the youngest book among the lot. I am reading it: it is a dark and troubled book, written very intelligent. The male/female relationships are dark and troubled dissecting also mothers and daughters. (In this case posthumously)

The book portrays the loneliness of relationships that once were vibrant and fulfilling, but leaves the main characters empty handed, empty hearted. The little noises of others being unpalatable and the loneliness unbearable. The main female character at the end can’t write as well as she could. There is lot of silence in the book, uncomfortable silence that is. Every relationship turns into a disappointment and thus loneliness settles deep in the soul. Silence in the conversations, which are not really an exchange, which leave one empty broken. I wonder how broken her spirit was, to the point of dementia. To the point of no return: terminal dementia.

High expectations of oneself do not come true in the book which kind of breaks, brings someone down. Why did she buy and read that book? She must have expected more from life, but with my stepfather she choose the safe road for her, although not for me. It is an intelligent book – what one would expect from Simone De Beauvoir. In nature once in while there is solace to be found and solitude. Yet in her life there is also too much solitude. My mother was a good-looking woman. And she could hold her drink. Men were drawn to her. She met Louis at the Century hotel where she worked as a telephone operator and he as an electrician.

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