|Largo de São Carlos | Lisboa|
To my Sister, who by tirelessly encouraging me on all things literary, has introduced me to David Lodge, Kipling, H.G.Wells and Douglas Adams, amongst many others.
This has been the Summer of reading immersion. As the really short shorts and really mini mini-skirts parade in Lisboa, in its sunny, shining, foreign-accent crowded streets, I find myself travelling as well, through out England in particular and the Galaxy in general.
As my heart feels confused and my head tired of the blood pumping machine, I find it utterly important to read. It seems to do the trick. From David Lodge’s “A Man of Parts” and “Deaf Sentence”, to Nick Hornby’s “About a Boy” or back to Douglas Adams’ “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, all this literary fiction gives me perspective. I find myself detaching from my own problems and through an English literary filter (I have a week spot for English writers) all seems to make sense again. Oddly enough, the books that have been helping me the most are the THHGG saga ones.
David Lodge reminds me, once again, of the beauty of language, English in particular. There’s a way in which he writes these stories that not only make the story and its characters stand out, with a vigor of its own, but that also enhance the wording. It seems that the words alone encapsulate meaning and beauty, in spite of context. But there’s more, his own university professor background helps the reader understand the literary, etymological value of the words, the story behind the story, the meaning behind mere vocabulary. And I’m gone, I’m lost in this world of sensitive men of letters, who appreciate a good book as much as a well written paragraph, who are lost in love and found in writing.
Nick Hornby was a quite different experience though: London of the nineties, of grunge, of support groups, of troubled teenagers and misguided adults. From cover to cover, page to page, I wished to see how the story unfolds, how these terrifically incompatible lives come together in harmony, because of a boy. An endearing 12 year old boy, too wise and sensible for his own good. And there’s hope: incompatible does not mean impossible, it means a long work in progress. I smile.
But it’s Adams, however, in its zany approach to Life, the Universe and Everything that takes the biscuit. In its over-simplistic but very colorful language, with all the absurdity and defiant Quantum Physics, makes me realize that love it’s pretty much like flying: “The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] suggests, and try it. The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt.”.