Finished reading on the plane to SD today. Actually, I finished it while we were waiting on the runway for like an hour. I finished it, then went to sleep, just as we took off.
Really beautiful. There are some lines in the book that make my heart go quiet. It's not breathtaking or heartbreaking the way I find some books, but it's quiet in it's beauty. A whisper, if you will. I'm impressed with Ondaatje's ability to make an entire book about waiting in Italy (and the desert), interesting enough to follow to the end. Form over plot.
Something I did want to note, for myself, is how removed we are from the characters, and yet not. We get so much of them, in this dreamy abstraction, and yet, in moments of the greatest drama - when Kip runs from them, when Hana watches him leave, when the English Patient comes back to the Cave of Swimmers - the air around them goes quiet. The power of what is happening is accentuated by the subtleness of their reaction, the muted words, the lack of melodrama. Less is more, etc etc.
Something else: it occured to me, reading his book, that I'm not a writer the way he is. The A-type in me gets too caught up in organization and craft, etc. Meanwhile, here he is with this book that goes this way and that and confuses tenses and points of views and goes off on dreamy tangents. It works BEAUTIFULLY, and yet, I would never be able to put together something that way because my mind can't seem to work that way. It doesn't move liquidly the way his seems to. That sort of makes me sad, because those are my favorite books.
Next time I pick up something of his, I will be sure to only read it in quiet times, to fully be able to appreciate the beauty of his words.
p.s. I am in San Diego and apartment hunting really sucks.
p.p.s. Next book I have with me is a fantasy book given to me by a friend. Totally unlike anything I normally read but I have nothing else with me while in SD! Hee hee. We'll see how it is!