Thursday, April 19, 2012

Book Ends: Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul and Bob Smith's Remembrance of Things I Forgot

Two books I've read lately (I'm actually still reading the second of these), both offering eye-catching aper├žus about family behavior and family life, though that's not necessarily the major theme of either book:

The first is Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul: Memories and the City, trans. Maureen Freely (NY: Vintage, 2004):

For me, the thing called family was a group of people who, out of a wish to be loved and feel peaceful, relaxed and secure, agreed to silence for a while each day the jinns and devils inside them and act as if they were happy (p. 275).

The second is Bob Smith's Remembrance of Things I Forgot (Madison, WI: Terrace Books, 2011):

My fear exposed the shame of all families: if you didn't know the people you were related to, would you befriend them?  In the days when families hunted and gathered, this wouldn't be a question worth pondering, but once butchering a mammoth stopped being a household chore, we began to suspect families are chain gangs held together by manacles of DNA (p. 96).

I may, in a day or so, have more to say about Smith's novel, after I've finished it--and may include with some notes about it reflections about two Connie Willis works I've recently read.  For some reason, science fiction (and time travel) have loomed large on my radar screen lately, perhaps because the grotesque alien thing the leaders of my Catholic church are intent on making the beloved community right now is so grotesque that one has no choice except to escape.  

To anyplace but here, and any time but now.

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