IN AMERICA - Susan Sontag
THE IDIOT - Dostoevsky
THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS - Isabel Allende
Low volume but high quality reading this month. Isabel Allende has made her way onto my list of favorite writers. The absurd and haunting world she creates in The House of the Spirits only serves to highlight the horror of the real-world events of the historical period. Also here's a solid cheer for books about women and by women but for the whole world.
In America is the first of Sontag's writing I've read, and I loved her style. The story was beautiful, the prose was beautiful, the ending was chilling. I'll absolutely be reading more Sontag this year.
And Dostoevsky, my boy. I haven't read The Idiot since high school, and it felt very dramatically different this time. I absolutely did not understand everything that was going the first time I read it. The Idiot was actually the first Dostoevsky I read, and my fondest memory of it is how excited my senior English teacher was when she found me reading it for fun. Just goes to show how shallow a first round that was. But this time. Love vs. pity, the Madonna vs. the whore, innocence vs. stupidity. I didn't understand the first time how Dostoevsky was attacking the conventional way to write about women. And men really. His perfect woman is not always very lovely, and his fallen woman is such a victim it's hard to blame her for anything. He also attacks gender stereotypes for men through Alyosha, the lovely holy fool who causes so many problems.