Tuesday, 28 March 2006

Have you read a single word I wrote?

One of the books I'm reading right now is about a middle-age, childless housewife and charity program volunteer living in London whose husband left her for another man and is slowly spiraling into insanity. I have nothing much to relate to her with, except maybe for the spiraling part.

The story is told in a series of letters, written by her to a neighbour, Joan, who happens to have abandoned her family (for some unexplained reasons) to travel the world alone and manages to end up in places like Dacca (Dhaka, Bangladesh), Kurdistan (maybe when the country still existed) and Prague. But as the reader, we have no clue of Joan actually receiving the letters, let alone reading them.

It's a second-hand book I bought last year. When I got it, I have no idea what was waiting between its covers.

I'm going to continue reading it for a few reason. One, it won a major award. I want to how good it is as a novel. Two, it somehow takes me into the mind of the lead character, Eliza: a middle-age woman, emotionally marooned, with no means of to support her life, unconfident and gives herself to others around her with no idea what she should receive in return. Third, I bought it, so I might as well read it.

The more I think I of it, the more I'm convinced that I've come across a few Elizas in my life so far. They may not live in London, volunteer to clean the bedpans of the dying during their free time or have a husband who likes other men, but I think I know that they feel very much like what Eliza does. Half-way through life with a little sense of what is going on and is supposed to happen.

Usually I read non-fiction stuff and it's been a quite awhile since I've read anything fiction. I may not be able to relate entirely to Eliza character, because of the different background and values, but at least now I have a bit of an idea what the Elizas of the world are going through. We may not the solution to the problems of the Elizas in our life. But the least we could do is offer them a listening ear over the phone, or over a cup of warm tea.


ieka said...

aa..ape kena mengena posting dan tajuk posting? :)

i may be reading more than one single word here, but may not be reading the whole thing :P (insha-Allah will come back when time allows me to do so;) )

rolllie said...

I admit that I'm as good with post titles as I am at football (i.e. horrendously horrible).

It's understandable since you (and most likely others as well) haven't read the book. Eliza sends letter after letter, each often longer than the previous, pouring her soul out to Joan but not once has Joan replied.

Hence the title. Sorry about that.

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