It's about: This book is the story of Irene America, her husband Gil, and the slow unraveling of their marriage. Gil is an artist, and his series of portraits of his wife have become famous. To others, their marriage is iconic, but in truth they have begun to resent each other. In order to manipulate her husband, Irene begins writing a fake diary - the Red Notebook - that she knows her husband will read. Her real diary, the Blue Notebook, she keeps locked in a safe deposit box. The narrative moves between entries in each notebook and a third person who is revealed at the very end.
I thought: I've had this book on my radar for awhile, but I kept putting off reading it because I didn't think the topic would interest me. However, I think a great writer is able to draw you into her story, no matter what the topic - and that is exactly what happened with me. This book was short, the font was big, it was divided into very short sections, yet it was one of the most deeply, painfully emotional books I've ever read. Erdrich beautifully depicts the complexities of this relationship, wringing out painful truths from the most prosaic events.
I have to say, I'm very drawn to heart wrenching, tragic stories like this one. Ever since I finished this book I've been thinking about why this is so. I've concluded that I honestly believe that the most beautiful things in life and in art (and in literature) come from the darkest, most painful experiences.
I'm very interested to know - are you like me, do you find the most beauty in tragic, sad things? Or do you think more uplifting, light-hearted, and/or funny literature can be just as beautiful?
Verdict: Stick it on the shelf.
Warnings: Some swear words, a few sex scenes. A lot of "Adult Content." Is that too vague? It's nothing gratuitous, but I wouldn't recommend this to younger readers.
|Louise Erdrich. Isn't she beautiful? I hope my kids look like this.|
What I'm reading next: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Oh yeah and I'm still working on that Proust biography.