Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sons and Lovers

The last hostel we stayed at in Brisbane had a book exchange, so I left Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" for "Sons and Lovers" by D. H. Lawrence. In brief the book is about a son's relationship to his neglected and overly affectionate mother and how it controls his relationship to his two lovers, one spiritual, one passionate. Lawrence considered the book somewhat autobiographical, and this flavor comes out in the rich detail of emotions felt by the characters. The relations and emotions are so deep and unfamiliar to my modern eyes. The quality or the writing is exceptional; often I could not tell if I was reading the next page because I wanted to find out what happened in the story or because I wanted to see the vibrant combination of words used by Lawrence. My favorite chapter was "Strife in Love." I liked the book so much that I have added it to my list of five books you must read to understand me as a person. The others include: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, The Runner by Cynthia Voigt, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.

I also found many similarities between my current state of affairs and the sons in the book. One feels as though he has no purpose in life even though he is successful, and with no passion in life he grows ill and dies. The other, the artist, thinks to much, is left alone in the end, and can not decide whether he'd rather be beaten by life or beaten by death. That's the depressing part, but before their ends these characters really lived. They experienced everything available to them, and lived and loved deeply, with flames in their eyes and hearts. Who could really want anything more than a burning existence?

I particularly like the title of the last chapter, Derelict. There are many excellent quotations I could share, about sleeping, recklessness, and carelessness, but I will give only this one about loss.
"Everything seemed so different, so unreal. There seemed no reason why people should go along the street and houses pile up in the daylight. There seemed no reason why these things should occupy the space, instead of leaving it empty. His friends talked to him: he heard the sounds, and he answered. But why there should be the noise of speech he could not understand." (p.357)

I leave acknowledging this, everyday I can be great or wait to die. It is my decision.