First I was afraid, I was petrified.. kept thinking I will never read this book in due time… Khm… I am exaggerating, of course.
But, to an extent, I did feel uneasy looking at those claustrophobic pages of A Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis – some of them containing not even a paragraph, just letters, so close to each other, from the beginning of the row to its end, in every single of the thirty-nine rows… I felt the inclination to speed-read through the text but I managed to take control over that odious urge and now I’m doing fine. I’m doing pretty well, actually.
I don’t know why I get all anxious upon encountering these sort of pages (one time, long time ago, I found myself skipping! the paragraph that stretched through the two-thirds of the page.. if I remember correctly, it was in Madame Bovary). My first reaction is to hold back. And only after this shameful state of discomposure am I able to come to senses and start reading slowly, word by word until the right rhythm is obtained… It happened, early this year, with Proust’s Combray. Now, it happens with Saramago. Both great writers.
Thinking about this problem now, I realize, in Saramago-case, it came after reading the first couple of pages of the novel. So, it must have been a question of the style, something I cannot seem to grasp and single out… With Proust, it was the style but also the content. I had to be extremely concentrated, and willing, and patient in order not to skim through and enjoy, as much as it was possible, the whole-page description of the church roof top changing color due to the moving clouds getting in the way of the sun rays.
And, there’s Ulysses, too. To this day I was not able nor willing to give it another try. However, I do hope… No, I know I will read it one day.***************************
It’s snowing beautifully… First snow this winter…