I have always thought of us as a cheerful family, which is why it is so strange that we particularly love art that's a bit, how to say, emotionally fraught. There was the time my mother came to visit us in New York and what she really wanted to do was see a play about torture, a museum exhibit about slavery and some public art about starvation. So I was amused this afternoon when I got an email from her:
Just finished reading Christa Wolf's book which I mentioned, One Day A Year. If you want the whole (tragic) history of the world 1960-2000, this is the book for you!And it was with only a bit of irony that I replied:
Sounds awesome! I'll take it out at SFU once the new semester starts, because then I'll get the full semester loan. I looked it up and it's 600+ pages.I was chuckling over my mother's tendencies, when I looked in my purse and found the book I had recently recommended to her, Defying Dixie, a history of the precursors to the civil rights movement, most of which were Communist or other far-left movements and which have been completely erased by history. Fascinating book; not cheerful. I also recently made Winnifred and my mother come with me to a play by Dürrenmatt, the guy who famously said, "a story is not over until it has taken the worst possible turn." And both of them plus Future Minister of Discourse were dragged to the Tony Kushner adaptation of "The Dybbuk," which, with its theme of God's betrayal of those who love him the best, makes the original (which is about the betrayal we propagate when we forget old loved ones--a metaphor for first-world Jews' failure to save more Eastern European Jews from starvation during WWI) seem like a walk in the park.
Then I remembered that Writing Sister recently recommended Everything Must Change, a novel about "asceticism and devotion to a cause in a materialistic modern society." That sounds like a hoot too.
Ozzie Sister occasionally sends me reading material from Down Under; most memorably a great book about Holocaust survivors. So beautifully written, almost poetry. You could kill yourself it's so sad.
It seems we've all got the bug: hard art is our thing. Ah, well. Happy families are all alike, anyway.