My current read is Vollmann’s Europe Central. The narration slides between the doings in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union. The exquisite evocation of suffering and slaughter on a massive scale fits well with the emotional collapse I feel now. Not that I compare the two, for mine is nothing compared to what others have suffered.

I am a firm believer that one should not run from melancholy, for melancholy is a natural part of our lives and serves its purpose in enriching our emotional lives as well as our intellectual lives. Without overcast we would never appreciate a cloudless dawn with the sunlight shimmering on the water.

My life this year seems as if I played a lost chess game against a vastly superior opponent. I have blundered badly on top of it. Yet what would life be if we did not at least attempt a few heroic struggles in games that only our wildest dreams permit us to see victory? The one thing I have learned this year is that it is better to attempt snatching what one truly and deeply wants than sit on the sideline and play for nothing, except a shallow and easy victory. I learned more about love in a few months than I have during the whole course of my life.

So, I read Europe Central fascinated, mesmerized, and appalled by people and events and ideas from those times. I read. The words inscribe themselves somewhere inside my soul if only to be scrubbed away by time.

Published in: on July 17, 2008 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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