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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Golden Notebook

Well, poo. I wanted to post some more about Golden Notebook, but I went and left the book at home. This makes it tough to dig up specific quotes I wanted to address. At any rate:

The novel is built up from a nested series of overlapping narratives; there's a five-chapter novella, "Free Women." Each chapter is interspersed with several color-coded notebooks presenting more or less factual ruminations from Anna, the protagonist/author of the novella. There are multiple intriguing cross-readings available, but one in particular came at the end. Saul, Anna's "unsuitable" lover in the final fifth of the novel, is presented in shockingly negative terms for most of the sequence. His anger, nastiness, mean-spirited infidelity, is most of what the author presents. She tells us he can be wonderful, but shows us only his nastiness, although at one point she acknowledges that she's mostly scoured all traces of his goodness and kindness out of this account. (Wish I could pull the quote! Maybe I'll edit this post with book in hand later.) Then we get the final chapter of Free Women, in which she finally reveals what was in those narrative gaps; his kindnesses are genuine, and deserve to be revealed after all. It forces us to reevaluate Saul. She's shown us that the relationship was sick, bad craziness, but then she reveals why she stayed in it, and why it was a net gain for them both.

This ties in with a remark she makes earlier in the book, about why "good women" take up with "unsuitable men," which is something I intend to explore a bit more later.

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