A ridiculous case of claustrophobia

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…


6 thoughts on “A ridiculous case of claustrophobia

  1. I share that feeling, so please add Moby Dock to your possible attempted books one day…a challenge is a challenge but sometimes it seems like a cosmic joke played on us readers.

    1. Ah.. The Moby Dick.. I am planning to read it this July (as a part of the ‘project’ of reading heavy books waiting on my shelves for so long) and I am already in a state of subtle fear..
      I once swore I would never read it. Just because it is a story of a man seeking revenge on an animal that bit him.. Which is a silly reason not to read such a praised peace of literature.. So, I shiver (now not because of the story but the way it’s told, the style) and hope I will be able to get into it.. We’ll see..

  2. It is really well written, in fact it is immersive, but way to slow…it just doesn’t pick up any sort of pace and for a huge book it needs something to give it s gentle shove. I think I made 150 pages and was assured by someone who skipped further on that it doesn’t get any quicker towards the climax….but good luck anyway, I will be supportive as best I can.

    1. Thank you for the support!

      You said I should keep reminding you to review ‘This is not the end of the book’ and ‘Shadow of the Wind’, so I am doing it..
      Actually, this was me reminding myself not to forget to remind you..

      1. Haha, thank you…I wish I had both of them with me now to touch and peruse…having said that, I am sure they will a fine edition to the bookcase here and it is always good to share fantastic books so I shall get myself some copies and write some reviews…I haven’t forgotten about your rock post either.

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