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Friday, October 26, 2007

"A Plea for Eros" by Siri Hustvedt

Well, I finished with Maureen Corrigan's book the other day and jumped right into "A Plea for Eros" by Siri Hustvedt. She is married to Paul Auster, which happens to be my favorite contemporary writer. I also read "What I Loved" earlier this year and it was a book I enjoyed. I got "A Plea for Eros" based on a very bad review she got on The New York Times. I found the review fascinated me and made me look out for the book even more. So, I got it and put it in my reading list for the year, and let me just say that the review was right about how centered this book is. While this is a book of essays, and Ms. Hustvedt is an amazing writer, it seems that she forgot the cardinal rule of essay writing (even the personal essay), and that is treat the subject/topic, not how you see the subject/topic. To be sure, there are times when the personal pronoun can't be avoided altogether, but in her case it is just a matter of having overdone it. Again, I enjoy her writing tremendously--"What I Loved" is a magnificent book, but the NYT reviewer (who wrote about Ms. Hustvedt's exaggerated sense of self-worth) was right on target with his critical missiles. I've only read through "Yonder" -- the first of the essays -- and can't wait to see what awaits... what new insight into Ms. Hustvedt's take on just about everything.

Things have not been very good at school. Work just keep getting more and more complicated and I am at a loss on how to make time for other things. I am reading very late at night or very early in the morning. Running I usually do right after work, and then from there a sweaty me starts grading until about 5:30 or 6 PM. I go home then and call my mother on the way home. It has become a habit of sorts, and she really does look forward to it. We talk about the weather (it's the only thing in her life that suffers any kind of change). I tell her about my day, my students, my inability to cope with life. She always says she is praying for me. If she only knew I'd lost my faith. This happened over a long period of time, and while I am not saying I have completely and utterly lost my faith, I can see a long path but no end in sight. I have some ambitions, but can't seem to draw the energy it requires. Who knows where I will draw the time to write 50,000 words in November.... it's late now, and I am very tired.

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