Thursday, March 24, 2016

Farewell to Winter and Misanthropy

The morning light across her face almost chiaroscuro. I steal glances at her eating bacon: the muscles of her jaw change the contours of her face -- splashes of light roll up and back from her temple, and below her ear. She's splendid, a Dutch-sized woman with strongly marked features; and she eats with some ferocity. Her breakfast companion is slight: heavily bearded but otherwise rather anemic and wan. Perhaps she'll finish her meal by eating him up.

Spring washing in: old maple flower tracked into the house and the car; new green on the trees. I'm reading César Aira's Ema, La Cautiva, and puzzling over it. After a vision of desolation and brutishness, crossing the pampas with horrible soldiers, we arrive at remote Pringles and find a wavering, fragile-feeling paradise. Aira clearly loves the country he grew up in. But disaster and the threat of violence hangs over everything. And the perpetually pregnant Ema, after all, is essentially a slave: she is susceptible to paradise only because she accepts everything so readily. So it's a disturbing book: one of those books that you take up reluctantly, when you're halfway through, because you don't think it's going to end well. I wish my Spanish was better: some of Aira's philosophical flights just leave me puzzled. And, sure as I am that South America holds wonders, am I really supposed to believe in a hundred-pound duck? Perplexities.

I get stronger, more solitary, more morose. It's a bit of a theme now, I guess. But I'm glad that Spring is here. I'm ready to shake off Winter and misanthropy.