Saturday, March 7, 2015

Flowers Growing from Manure

I have been reading "Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life" by Anthony Burgess for the last two days. I am not sure if I am enjoying it, but I cannot put it down. 

It is not easy to read, not because of the language, but rather because of the empathy I have for the protagonist, and the heavy atmosphere. Fears, hopes, self-consciousness, love, jealousy, regrets; old age and diseases approaching; more fears... And I feel stinking of the great city, full of unbathed people and plague during the hot summer months. I know this is how it had to be, but it is not easy to struggle through this huge cloud of stench. 

Yes, it is a hard read for me. I have read reviews by others saying it was an easy read, and they enjoyed it greatly, but I feel like I am contemplating a beautiful flower growing on the pile of manure (and it is human manure, let me clarify, for it is the stinkiest one). It is neither strange or unnatural, though. Pasternak, the great Russian poet, wrote: "If only you could know from what dirt the poems are growing without any shame...". He was right, of course (and he made the most beautiful translations of Shakespeare into Russian), but it is sometimes easier and more pleasant not to know how the flowers grow.  

I wonder what are the impressions of my friends; please tell me what you think of this book, if you have read it. I will also give it to my mother for her expert opinion. I still have about half of the book to read. If I liked it more, it would go faster.  

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