Finished books 14 and 15: The Book of Qualities – Ruth Gendler Life After Life – Kate Atkinson.
The former is a lovely little book in which human qualities are fleshed.
The latter. It’s Kate Atkinson. We should love her, but I had trouble with the concept of this novel. A woman, Ursula, dying only to be reborn into her life. It felt too gossamer, as though nothing had weight, nothing was permanent. When even death isn’t permanent, how can we become invested? How can we care? Isn’t it the fear of permanence that impels us into action? To create our legacy before we die. To ask that woman on a date before we forever lose our chance. To act now, while the opportunity is in front of us, because it will never again be like this. A sharper person than I needs to explore these ideas. Rumon? Or Kundera? Ursula didn’t know that she would be reborn into her life if she met an unfortunate ending, although she did have a sense of the otherworldly, but we as readers knew. We knew that any brutality would be erased and she would be able to start over, and we knew that the best events of her life would just as thoroughly be erased. If she missed an opportunity, she would be able to revisit it. In this dream world of falling off cliffs and bursting anew into wakefulness, nothing felt real, and though our own dreams may be engaging and exciting to us, and here my wife put it succinctly: other people’s dreams are boring. A Priori, I need to believe there will be consequences. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, this makes me a 'heavy' character. I'd be interested in knowing if 'light' characters would get a different sense from Life After Life. And to be fair, there were some beautiful passages. I can appreciate her talent as a writer. Other reviewers quite enjoyed the novel. It didn't engage me.
Two and a half weeks post-Comox. The first week was nothing more than easy running and the second was to find my legs. The Sun Run is in 11 days. Times Colonist 10km is the week after that. Finally, I've found a half-marathon to take one last crack at the Canadian Master's record: Bayshore, in Traverse City, Michigan. May 25.
I’ll be flying to Minneapolis Thursday for my sister’s graduation from her art program. Pack the camera, pack the running shoes. Hope their weather is nicer than ours. Looking forward to trying a couple new restaurants, and to visiting Louise Erdrich’s bookshop.