September 27, 2014
Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.
By Elizabeth Strout
The adaptation of this book is coming to HBO as a four-part miniseries in November. I watched the first two parts this week and think it's quite lovely in a very sad way, and it affects me deeply getting this close-up look at how all of these characters cope and endure. It's a little strange, as if you shouldn't have so much access to a stranger's struggle. I agree with Lena Dunham, who said "it is the most beautiful, spiritual, funny thing." (And a reminder of why she's proud to work at HBO - my thoughts too.) I'm more often than not convinced most people are doing fine and maybe I'm the only one who's perpetually confused, and yearning, and hoping, and trying. But reading & watching makes me feel like -- maybe not. In any case, the experiences of the people in this small town are beautifully rendered.
"Hello, Angie." He wasn't a man you'd look twice at now. Probably back then he wasn't a man you'd have looked twice at, but that didn't matter the way people thought it did. It didn't matter how once he'd had an ugly brown leather jacket and thought it was cool. You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind." (pp. 56-7)
"She drank, with one hand, all the Irish coffee. And then she played all sorts of songs. She didn't know what she played, couldn't have said, but she was inside the music, and the lights on the Christmas tree were bright and seemed far away. Inside the music like this, she understood many things. She understood that Simon was a disappointed man if he needed, at this age, to tell her he had pitied her for years. She understood that as he drove his car back down the coast toward Boston, toward his wife with whom he had raised three children, that something in him would be satisfied to have witnessed her the way he had tonight, and she understood that this form of comfort was true for many people, as it made Malcolm feel better to call Walter Dalton a pathetic fairy, but it was thin milk, this form of nourishment; it could not change that you had wanted to be a concert pianist and ended up a real estate lawyer, that you had married a woman and stayed married to her for thirty years, when she did not ever find you lovely in bed." (p. 58)
September 21, 2014
But when the crowd caught sight of the murderers ... it fell silent, as though amazed to find them humanly shaped.
In Cold Blood
By Truman Capote
Chilling, sad, disturbing. People like Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith still exist today & always will -- that's the saddest, most disturbing part. That innocent, good people will still die at the hands of ruthless murderers. It's disheartening. I can see why this book was lauded, as it's an impressive in-depth account of the events leading up to the murders, and during and after. A bit of timeliness, too -- apparently a Florida detective wants to exhume their bodies because he believes Richard and Perry were connected to a similar Florida murder that happened around the same time. (Truman mentions this in the book, but states that at the time of publication the killers were still at large. It's a bit suspicious. Perry maintained that it was probably done by crazy people who saw what him and Richard did & wanted to copy. Even though they were both in Florida when the similar murder occurred.) Also, the governor at the time, a strong supporter of the death penalty for the two of them, recently died.
I identified with the following passage because this year I started doing what Nancy did. Maybe I see her in me a little.
"As long as the sun lasted, the day had been dry and warm--October weather in January. But when the sun descended, when the shadows of the square's giant shade trees met and combined, the coldness as well as darkness numbed the crowd. Numbed and pruned it; by six o'clock, fewer than three hundred persons remained. Newsmen, cursing the undue delay, stamped their feet and slapped frozen ears with ungloved, freezing hands. Suddenly, a murmuring arose on the south side of the square. The cars were coming.
Although none of the journalists anticipated violence, several had predicted shouted abuse. But when the crowd caught sight of the murderers, with their escort of blue-coated highway patrolmen, it fell silent, as though amazed to find them humanly shaped. The handcuffed men, white-faced and blinking blindly, glistened in the glare of flashbulbs and floodlights. The cameramen, pursuing the prisoners and the police into the courthouse and up three flights of stairs, photographed the door of the county jail slamming shut. No one lingered, neither the press corps nor any of the townspeople. Warm rooms and warm suppers beckoned them, and as they hurried away, leaving the cold square to the two gray cats, the miraculous autumn departed too; the year's first snow began to fall." (p. 286)