Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Anagrams by Lorri Moore (5/5)

The back says: Gerard sits, fully clothed, in his empty bathtub and pines for Benna. Neighbours in the same apartment building, they share a wall and Gerard listens to the sound of her toilet flushing. Gerard loves Benna. And then Benna loves Gerard. She listens to him play piano, she teaches poetry and sings at nightclubs.

As their relationship ebbs and flows through reality and imagination, Lorri Moore paints a captivating, innovative portrait of men and women in love and not in love. The first novel from a master of contemporary American fiction, Anagrams is a revelatory tale of love gained and lost.

I say: I loved this. I truly did. I picked it up because I was randomly watching and interview with Robbie Williams and he mentioned this in relation to his life (or something of the sort) and I was intrigued.

I have to admit that the first part confused the hell out of me. I couldn’t understand what was going on or how or why, but after a while I stopped thinking and just took it for what it was. Once we got to the second part, the first made sense and I was in awe of Moore’s way of telling the story –

the way she started it out with such disorder.

Me loving this novel is, in a way, a bit weird since I didn’t particularly like Benna. I can’t really put my finger on why; she was selfish, needy, inconsiderate and at times manipulative – but she had her reasons. A part of me sympathises with her, but another just wanted to her to grow up.

“Basically, I realized, I was living in that awful stage of life from the age of twenty-six to thirty-seven known as stupidity. It’s when you don’t know anything, not even as much as you did when you were younger, and you don’t even have a philosophy about all the things you don’t know, the way you did when you were twenty or would again when you were thirty-eight. Nonetheless you tried things out [...].” – p 16

I have to admit that I recognised a lot of myself in her, and maybe that is the main reason why I didn’t warm to her – it was all a bit too close to home.

“Whenever I’m furious, the only vocabulary I can come up with are words that have been spoken in the last thirty seconds. My sentences become anagrams of the sentences before.” – p 129

Amidst all these quotes I have to comment on Moore’s brilliant writing. I love the way she let us into Benna’s head and in that way blurred the line between reality and daydreams. There were several times when I had to ask myself if she had a mental disorder or if she was just a bad escape artist; and one of the reasons why I love this is the fact that it’s never spelled out; that we can each take from it what we will.

“Meaning, if it existed at all, was unstable and could not survive the slightest reshuffling of letters. One gust of wind and Santa became Satan. A slip of the pen and pears turned into pearls.” – p 130

“And how did this happen? I never know how anything happens.” – p 190

Once again, I stumbled upon a book that I just wanted to start reading all over again as soon as I had finished it. I am looking forward to re-reading this in the future to see how I feel about Benna then. As much as I didn’t like her, or even understand her, how can I not want to spend time with someone who utters the sentiment:

“Life is sad. Here is someone.” - p 126

No comments:

Post a Comment