Sunday, June 27, 2010

talk about “love”

If one wants to understand love (beyond “love”)—presuming one doesn’t adequately understand it so far (safe bet)—look to a woman rather than a man, right?

Not strictly speaking, but history’s in my favor on that bias for women. So, Vendela Vida (lovely name!) published this month her third novel (accomplished writer), The Lovers—a good bet for better understanding love? Maybe, maybe not. So far, I’ve merely read a review of her novel, though I bought it last week.

The Lovers is about a widowed woman on a quest for self.

Vendela seems to expect an authentic directness while offering an authentic receptiveness. The world sorely needs that. It’s part of what deep friendship can take for granted. (I bet, though, that she more usually take the matter-of-fact stance of someone who may be a little tired of marketing her book.)

I suppose the lovers of the novel are the main character’s—Yvonne’s—self-conscious construction of a past in which she is both a part passed and a narrator presently defining her part in that past (and herself going forward), as the novel is overtly a quest (the reviewer implies), including (as Yvonne travels) reading Duras’s The Lover, which is about no valid lover at all, rather about Duras’s ambivalent love of colonial southeast asia, a book so well written because Duras was for so long rewriting her autobiographical story, as if the quest can be never captured; or one’s life is compelled to distill into some singular story, for the promise of a singular sense of self cohering the years, drawn nearer by the next version (or veiled in a new narrative presence). Vida’s The Lovers is, according to a reviewer, not only Vida’s third novel, but her third exploration of grief. Duras might be understood, too, as having lived an entwinement of love and grief (in the lack of true love that was burned into her discovery of sensuality). | Jan. 14, 2018: I saw the Italian film
I Am Love” for a second time last night, this time streamed.

I know grief. But I’m writing for love before the grief; or for life afterward. Love without the grief is not about a sense of life without loss. But what else ultimately heals grief? Not necessarily love of some one new person (though, what could be more elating?); rather love of whatever: the days, the gardening, the trails, the trees.

I’m confident that those whom we survive would have wanted us to let the love prevail over the loss as we move on, in light of them. I trust, Vendela, that such a sense is part of what you found: an origin ever drawing you on.