Friday, October 1, 2010

Zozia. . .

Sophie's Choice by William Styron.

If you've ever dropped a book into the bathtub before, you know that wetness makes it swell to twice its original size. Bloats it, if you will. Even if you dry each page out completely, it will always stay all spread, big, and fluffy. Although I didn't do that with this book, it still seemed to be extremely bloated and long (626 pages and all of them filled with mind-numbing metaphor and strings of huge words that go on for days.) I got exhausted just doing a few chapters each night.

Now first, I loved it. Of course I did. I don't know how to go about explaining it though, because normally what I do is to go on and on like I would in a conversation, to write this blog like I talk. And somehow I can't do that with this. There are things that happen in this novel that are literally the worst things you can imagine. The worst. It was almost like The Jungle by Upton Sinclair; just when you think things cannot possibly be any worse, this happens. Or this. And then this. For those of you who have no plans to ever read it, I'll just say that she gets sent to Auschwitz. With her two children. Is sexually assaulted both in the camp and after her escape. Hooks up with a schizophrenic that beats her, often. Not a feel good story by any means. Not a good summer read. Not something that will help you unwind if you've had a stressful day. But an important story, and narrated by a bitchy writer! Perfect!

"'I surrounded Höss's boots with my arms. I pressed my cheek up against those cold leather boots as if they were made of fur or something warm and comforting. And do you know? I think maybe I even licked them with my tongue, licked those Nazi boots. And do you know something else? If Höss had give me a knife or a gun and told me to go kill somebody, a Jew, a Pole, it don't matter. I would have done it without thinking, with joy even, if it mean seeing my little boy for only a single minute and holding him in my arms.'"


"'Nathan,' I said. 'Please! Where are you?'

'Not far away, old pal. In fact, I'm right around the corner. And I'm coming to get you treacherous scum. And then you know what I'm going to do? Do you know what I'm going to do to you two deceitful, unspeakable pigs? Listen--'

There was an explosion in my ear. Too diminished by the distance or by whatever in a phone mercifully de-amplifies noise and prevents it from destroying human hearing, the impact of the gunshot stunned rather than hurt me yet nonetheless left a prolonged and desolate buzzing against my eardrum like the swarming of a thousand bees. I will never know whether Nathan fired that shot into the very mouth of the telephone he was holding, or into the air, or against some forlorn, anonymous wall, but it sounded close enough for him to be, as he had said, right around the corner. . . "

Yes, the entire book is like this. It's brilliantly told, but very disturbing, very long, and very serious. The one lighthearted thing that made me smile was the little college cupcake being named Leslie LAPIDUS! He even refers to her once as "the divine Lapidus."

Of course, Frank is the only divine Lapidus in my life, but I kind of felt like I knew where he was coming from. . .


Donald said...

Only you could wirte a review of Sophie's Choice that ends with a Jeff Fahey reference. Nice work.