Monday, October 30, 2006

Where to start?

Each night for the last two weeks I've had my secret bed-time rendezvous with Greta and Lili to look forward to, but they're gone. I don't know what will happen to either. I'm not so worried about Greta - she and Hans will be a strong pair. But what about Lili? Who will guide her and protect her? Carlisle and Henrik can't replace Greta. I imagine Greta must now feel as lost as I do - lonely and longing for information about Lili, confirmation that she's okay - but we must move on.

This book was interesting for so many reasons. I was intrigued by how the author seemed to hold us at a distance from the sensations of the characters lives. Yes we knew intimate details, but we didn't feel what they were feeling or see what they were feeling. I felt as though I were removed from the situation and watching from above as it unfolded. But just as I became accustomed to this, the author would include some surprising detail, a single something that pulled me directly into the scene. Once was when Einar made his way alone to the women's clinic and while standing at the door noticed the dew on the metal address numbers hanging above.

Greta seems to me an incredibly complex character. Strong enough to be married to a man that can never love her with the passion that is part of a marriage. But perhaps that is partially why she chose him? She wants to be alone, but loved at the same time, she admitted when considering her relationship with Henrik. Henrik seems like a stronger person than either Einar or Teddy. Has Greta evolved or is she making a mistake - seeking the comfort she needs now but will outgrow. And how does this vision of herself correspond with her desire to be a perfect wife to Teddy? It's hard to believe she could be a real person.


I also enjoyed having a glimpse into the lives of artists, and even more so, two married artists. The fact that they are both artists must add a troubling complexity to their relationship. Especially if an artist wants to know that her work touches others, wants her art to sell, how can some degree of competition or comparison be avoided? I was stunned to hear Einar say something like 'if you can survive without being an artist, then don't be one.' I'm curious to hear what others have to say about that.

Something I read a while back said 'everyone should draw'. Sure, not everyone's going to be an artist, but everyone should draw because it changes the way you see the world. The day after I finished reading a Danish Girl, I painted a picture. I had really no idea what I was doing, but it was definitely therapuetic - plus I had decided ahead of time to love whatever I created, no matter how it looked.

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