July 29th, 2017

hasui clouds of glory

My browser's text suddenly looks too thin

My local will be closed for a week starting Monday, so I suppose I should get a last latte there tomorrow. But I'd sort of wanted to get back to the AGO and perhaps use my membership to dine in their overpriced but fancy restaurant. OTOH it's a Sunday and the last day of the O'Keeffe exhibition, and even on a Tuesday in January the restaurant smugly announced itself full in spite of empty tables. Also there's a limit these days to expendable money and calories. So another time, I suppose.

Managed some chores my passive-aggressive foot-dragging self was resolutely ignoring, like pumping tires, retrieving green bin (draining after Thursday's rain), adding another round of Critter Ridder to next door's deck, washing dishes after a mere two days!, and cleaning dead veg from the fridge and freezer to dump in the compost. This involved eating or at least prepping a lot of the surviving veg, so yay for health. Didn't manage to vacuum the upstairs on the grounds that it stirs up dust and triggers allergies. Well, maybe.

Got a book from Doug Miller's looney bin, Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines. Reason it was only a dollar is the extensive mark-up of the text, random words circled and illegible notations made in the margin. I actually like this sort of thing. It gives some direction to following a text which naive reader me would take at face value, assigning equal weight to everything. (This is what happens when you read genre: what you see is so overwhelmingly often what you get that one forgets the tricks of lit-fic.) The present notations aren't actually any help in following Ghosh's narrative, because it constantly twists about in time and space, and I have to keep going back to check who's talking to whom when, and trying to figure just when are we now? Possibly the point is that these recollections inside recollections are supposed to go back and forth this way, and that it's always a kind of narrative meta-now.

My confusion was not helped by the fact that I thought someone was his father and spent half an hour trying to figure how he could only be twenty-eight when his daughter's husband was featured digging a bomb shelter. And I had to make a family tree to understand just how the Indian family is related to each other, because 1) they seem to follow a quasi-Chinese system whereby people of the same generation are treated more or less as siblings and 2) names change at whim and without explanation, so the same person will be called X's husband or by his position's title or by a nickname or by his relation to the narrator at different points in the narration.