My daughter started grade one at a new school last week. And today my oldest son started junior kindergarten. My little guy's off to school. And I think my brain imploded a little. Possibly a lot. It's only me and the ferocious Vampire Infant here for the morning. Though he's in a time out (for biting, of course).
That's the weird, unforgiving nature of time. Sometimes the last few years have seemed like a lifetime, and at other times it feels as if it were the merest blink of an eye. I remember my older son being born, the little shock of copper hair. And today he was in a backpack, climbing up on the school bus with his sister.
Hopefully, the years won't be as unforgiving as those of the characters in this book:
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This is sort of a brutal and sad book, but quite wonderful. And quite strange, though not in an overt way. It's a subtle sort of strangeness, arising out of how the style meshes with the structure. In some ways, this is a rambling, interior novel about politics - or, perhaps more accurately, about how politics interacts with the individual in terms of political faith and belief, and how that faith affects personal action.
The book is largely set inside the character's heads, and yet there are sudden flashes of the world around, sudden and almost hallucinatory images of the world as it impinges on the thoughts of the characters. This creates a wonderful dream-like (or perhaps nightmare-like) quality, arising from the strange telescoping motion between the interior and exterior - the way the outside world swims suddenly into focus. The winter landscape of a besieged Leningrad, the ruins of a German city under Allied bombing, an isolated house deep in the Mexican interior...
A fascinating look at the psychology of political belief, and the most interesting book on Communism I've ever read.
Somehow, thinking about it, school buses don't seem so bad. At least for a while...