Thursday, December 10, 2009

Passing in the night

Mom just got back from her cruise today, but I haven't seen her yet. I did get to speak to her rather briefly tonight over the phone, and it sounds like she had a very nice and interesting vacation. Since Ekim and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon for Baltimore, it will be more than a week before I get to hear more about her cruise.* We will relax in Baltimore on Friday night, then board The Mercury on Saturday. I hope the weather isn't a detriment; we've been having a mighty windy, blustery time of it lately. This is where we're going:


My latest read is The Collector, by the late John Fowles, which was his first successful book, back in 1963. It is a dark tale about a young male sociopath who makes a shift from collecting butterflies to collecting a young woman he's been admiring and stalking obsessively.

Frederick Clegg was living a miserable life as a strange loner of a clerk until he won a lottery. After that, he led an even stranger existence, for what he decided to do with all this money was to buy a very secluded house where he set about making all the necessary alterations he would need to keep a "house guest" a secret. In other words, he built a fortified prison in his basement. Then, Frederick bought a van, came up with a plan that included stalking, baiting, chloroform, and bondage. This time, though, instead of successfully netting a rare species of butterfly, he abducted Miranda Grey, a local art student.

The first part of the story is told in first person by Frederick, but then the narrative is given to Miranda, so the reader gets two very different points of view about what is happening. Miranda's story is of course very sad, but also very brave; she tries very hard to reason with her captor, wracks her brains trying to think of ways of escaping, and keeps a diary of her recent past and her future aspirations. It's all the idealism and hope of a very young woman desperately trying to survive. Miranda is a strong character.

John Fowles paints a fascinating portrait of two diametically different people, both doomed in such different ways. This novel is what I would call "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius." My compliments go to Dave Eggers for that moniker! It's a depressing work, but in my humble opinion, you must read this.

Mom is coming over to feed Serena. Well, okay, that's the easy part. I won't mention the other stuff, but at least we now have a permanent tree, so at least we don't have to worry about--other stuff.

Like the new bowl.  The garnish is a bit much, though.
moar funny pictures

I really need to turn in now. See you in a few days!
* I wonder if there were towel creations?


Doug said...

Bon voyage to the pair of you. That book sounds like my cup of blood.

Nessa said...

Welcome home Mom.

You have a great trip.

I will check out the book.

Love the picture and caption.

Flash Dancing

Fred said...

Have a great trip, Acton. Looking forward to hearing about it!

Marti said...

Safe journey to you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ariel the Thief said...

I loved that book, too. It is funny the way the guy is too aware of Miranda's not everyday character, he finally decides things went wrong because she was too much for him, next time and with a simplier girl things should go fine. Oh my, great book indeed!

Doug said...

Welcome home?

Doug said...

So were the Charleston natives colorful and exotic?