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Revisiting the poetry of Vicente Aleixandre, with his collection Sombra del Paraíso (Shadow of Paradise).

I had read Aleixandre some 45 years ago after he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1977. At the time, I found him impenetrable. Today, in a bookstore close to home, they had the recently reissued volume of his complete poems (1500+ pages) and I went for it.

Sombra del Paraíso is a large collection published in 1944, and is widely regarded as among its author’s most successful works. It deals with a sort of dawn of the world conjured through childhood memories, but also has a strong sensual component and surrealist touches. Aleixandre’s free verse is quite beautiful, and even if this isn’t an easy read, I definitely no longer find it impenetrable. How age and experience changes our perception of things…. ;)

These on the go:

vers la flamme:
The Quiet American by Graham Greene. Loving it so far.

Hesse: The Prodigy

This wonderfully told story is essentially a dissertation by Hesse on the unbalanced effect that the rigours of the education system has on the holistic well being of children.

This is the story of a young and academically gifted boy who is obliged to carry the weight of responsibility for academic success on his young shoulders not only for his ambitious father but also from all of the “elders” of his small town. He drives himself incessantly in his quest to be successful. However, in doing so, he isolates himself from his friends, peers and indeed from “normal” life for someone of his age. He is successful in his examinations and obtains a place in a celebrated seminary. There he comes under the influence of a disaffected and malcontent young man and through this connection he becomes further isolated from his peers and the quality of his study also begins to suffer. The young man eventually suffers a breakdown. He returns home and plunges deeper into despair and melancholy. He even picks the branch from which tree he contemplates hanging himself. He then comes into contact with a beautiful young woman and, momentarily, Life rejuvenates his soul. The tale essentially tracks which path he will actually choose to follow.

Does anyone here strongly recommend any Rushdie? I was going to read Midnight’s Children but I don’t really like magical realism, if that’s what it is. I just admire him as a person and feel for him in this moment. That’s why I ask. I’d like to support him in some way.


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