the_deep_magic: (The Pillow Book)
[personal profile] the_deep_magic

Going out of town to see the sister graduate, but here are two quick book meme-y things, since I know you will miss them while I am gone.

Day 15: Favorite male character(s)Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse

They share double billing – don’t make me choose!  I love them both so much, how they complement each other and learn from each other and they’re COMPLETELY IN LOVE and don’t know it.  Okay, it’s probably not actually supposed to be slash, but it comes very, very close to [ profile] ewinfic’s Dirty Monk series.  Sadly, minus the buttsex. 

Narcissus is a young teacFher at a cloister school who takes Goldmund, a bright and artistically talented student, under his wing.  Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  Okay, the talent is at sculpture carving, and Goldmund doesn’t discover it until after he’s decided he’ll never be a monk and has left the monastery (which happens early in the book), but still.  The book is about the different paths their lives take, but they are reunited at the end.  I won’t say more about the ending, but alas, still no buttsex.

Day 16: Favorite female character – Adah Price, The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver

The hemiplegic daughter of a Southern Baptist minister who drags his family to a remote missionary post in the politically unstable 1950’s Congo.  (You got all that?  Good.)  She’s highly intelligent but chronically underestimated because of her disability, which hampers her ability to speak, but not to think; she’s also acerbic, plagued with doubt, and at times downright nasty, if only in her mind.  The author, Barbara Kingsolver, doesn’t shy away from the ways in which her disability gives her a totally different view on faith and morality and privilege – in the U.S., she’s visibly abnormal; in Africa, where children are starving and it’s not uncommon for adults to lose limbs in fires or animal attacks, she is, if not exactly accepted, at least better understood.  I have a friend with a chronic physical disability who also loves this book, and claims Kingsolver absolutely nailed Adah’s inner monologue. 

The way Adah's character develops, particularly toward the end of the book, is controversial, but Adah is actually aware of that controversy and addresses it directly, which is pretty cool and 100% in character.  It's something I think few authors would choose or even think to deal with.

Incidentally, the end of her story, the answer to a question that dogs her for her entire life, is one of the most poignant illustrations of the Christian concept of grace I’ve ever come across – you were saved not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are.  I don’t know if that’s what Kingsolver intended and it’s not a perfect parallel, but it’s beautifully done, one of the very few concise answers in a book full of complexities.

If you've not already guessed, you will be hearing more about this book.

Date: 2012-05-17 01:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Adah was far and away my favorite thing about The Poisonwood Bible.


the_deep_magic: A nightmare inexplicably torn from the pages of Kafka! (Default)

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