When people ask me what I like to do in my free time, I usually say reading. And a few of them took it as a joke because apparently I am not the type of person who likes to read. How does a person who like to read look like? Anyways, I just don't go around talking about what I've read, I can't be bothered to be honest.
I read a lot and I have a gazillion of thoughts in my mind, I fear that at some point they'll all go away and I'll be left alone. So, I guess I should just put some of them into words.
I recently read Ananda Devi's Le Sari Vert, I see her books in bookshops all the time but I have never read any of them until recently. I was looking for a French book to read and someone suggested this one, so I got it. I am not going to review the book, I'll just share some thoughts.
Basically, the book is about a dying man spending the few days he has left in the care of his daughter and grand-daughter. There you are sucked into some deep dark flashbacks, that described the love-hate relationships between father and daughter, a young ambitious man, loving mother, 'incredulous wife' ?
When I first started reading, I hate the dying man.
The dying man was a doctor, an ambitious one. People like him, they called him 'Dokter-Dieu'. To the world he is seen as a good man, but to this family he is the bad one.
A theme I am not familiar with, 'violence-love'. Dokter- Dieu loves his wife but at the same time she's subjected to some atrocious act of violence. To Dokter Dieu it is not violence but love. Which is quite disturbing to me. The father-daughter relationship as well was a violence-love relationship. He hates his grand-daughter, her looks, being less intelligent and her love for women. Despite being surrounded by women most of his life, he can be thought as a very misogynistic man.
If Ananda Devi's wanted me to believe that Dokter-Dieu is the bad one, I probably would. But did she truly want the readers to think so?
To me Dokter-Dieu is someone who hasn't got any love growing up, he didn't have a father, her mother spent most of her time working to put him into school and then to become a doctor but didn't live to see his son succeeding in life. He felt in love with the most beautiful woman only to be disappointed later. People respecting him for his profession give him some kind of superiority, a power. To fill the void he has inside of him. He knows exactly how he is but he refuses to acknowledge it.
I like the writings of Devi's very much, I like how she described the misogynic violence. I like how she carefully chose her words, this one for instance:
“Cette fille est une tisane d’herbe bourrique. Cueillie là où toute une portée de lapins a pissé”
If you like literature, french literature to be precise. It is a great book. But will I recommend it to anyone? Probably not, as it addresses a lot of things. Unless I know you're comfortable with certain things then maybe yes I'll recommend it.
Will I read another Ananda Devi's book? I will. :-)