January 31st, 2017

gold hisui from rasetsunyo

Other people's worlds

My parents' library had a number of hardback novels by American writers- Thomas Wolfe, Steinback, Carson McCullers- and sometimes in adolescence I'd dip into them and be utterly baffled. These people didn't inhabit the kind of social and human universe I, and the characters in more popular literature, did. There was no kindness or civility or generosity to be seen, and people's motives were utterly opaque. Real people aren't like that!, I thought; why write such a revolting and demeaning view?

(My peculiar mother gave me Truman Capote and Ronald Firbank to read at a young age, and they didn't bother me at all. They were fantasies, quite as much as Ray Bradbury, though I recall one or two opaque characters in the Capote short stories.) (She also gave me Swinburne and Sappho, and I remember she wanted to get me to read Ulysses in my early teens. Occurs to me belatedly that maybe I was quite as peculiar a child as she was a parent.)
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