Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Position

This is another Meg Wolitzer I picked up, because I loved The Ten-Year Nap so much.

But this one is about a much more provocative subject--namely, The Beast With Two Backs(read the second paragraph, not the first, if you don't know what I'm talking about). It follows a couple in the 1970s who writes a book about their own experiences with marital intimacy, and the fallout from that on their four children.

So the story was not really what I was looking for. But the writing made it worth it. Consider this, from pages 36-37:

"Michael thought back to himself as a teenager, as a child, and it was like thinking about a death, for that person with the waves of black hair...had certainly disappeared. An abduction had taken place in the night, seemingly noiseless.

The truth was that if you paid attention to it, the sound of childhood ending was a terrible thing. If you were one of those supernaturally gifted people and could actually hear it, you would know that it was similar to glass shattering, or a body falling and hitting a surface, expecting that surface to be the accommodating body of a mother or father who would break the fall, but finding, instead, only the hard, hot sidewalk of the rest of life. These sounds were right now being made everywhere, Michael knew--children disappearing, as if through violence, and a troop of awkward but somehow authoritative adults replacing them. The world was packed with these new people who were granted permission to drink, and vote, and drive, and argue, and matter, and sometimes, if they were particularly unlucky or perhaps lucky, to grieve for things that had happened a very long time ago."

So, worth reading all the weird stuff for the beautiful passages in between. But be forewarned that it is indeed risque. (Darn, don't remember how to put the accent mark on that word. And can you tell I'm trying really hard NOT to make this blog show up on certain Google searches on certain topics? If not, yes, that's why I'm being so oblique.)

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