Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Bluebeard in Japan

I have written a thing about Yoko Ogawa's Hotel Iris. It took me months, off and on, for I began it during the disintegration of our bookstore. It is here at Open Letters Monthly. It was very difficult to finish this piece on Hotel Iris for it became quite painfully associated with all that bookstore stress. (I still have bookstore nightmares every once in a while; I had one last night, in fact.)

The same thing has happened to Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, which I was halfway through before I had to put it down out of a fatal combination of fatigue and irritation; I don't think I can pick it up again.When I think about delving back into Little Dorrit, I feel a great deal of anxiety as well as a deep desire to punch each member of that entire family dead in the face. So, I think I need to find a nicer way back into the Victorians and just let it go.

If I seem quite glum this week, I am, but I'm sure it won't last. I'm reading a fantastically good book (Gaudy Night) and have some other fantastically good stuff I have completed (Giuseppe di Lampedusa's The Leopard; the "The Country" section of William Faulkner's Collected Stories) and want to write about.

In the meantime, perhaps I should go back to Te Aro for another beautiful coffee...

4 comments:

interpolation said...

Hey, neat! I like the "insistently literary" bit among many other things. Should I call you the Girl with the Dragon Coffee? You should definitely go get another one. Hope your week shapes up nicely. Cheers, K

Bellezza said...

I'm sorry that the stresses keep rearing their ugly heads. It's awful how one book, or two, can trigger a memory of that difficult time. Best let them lie for awhile, and pick up what's soothing to you. Blessings, B.

andrew said...

A beautifully written and thought-provoking review Coleen! Thanks for sharing something so difficult to complete. I have a quick question, not having read the book, was the author also trying to invoke the shadow of Lolita—the mother and daughter with a rooming house, Nabokov being Russian, police intervention, death of a pervert?

Also, when you go, grab me one of those coffees, they look amazing...

Colleen said...

interpolation: When I get over this nasty cold or flu I've got, I'll certainly go get more dragon coffee.

Bellezza: Yes, and nothing says comfort to me like Ellis Peters. I'm 100+ pages into the 11th Brother Cafael mystery.

andrew: That's a great question. It's been so long since I read Lolita, that I'd have to go back to be sure - but it sounds like a possible source, based on what you say here.