He was sitting there where she had left him. He had the cup upon his knees. There was water in it, and he peered into the water as if to see something that moved there. He did not look up as she approached. So she dropped the flower into the bowl under his nose, and knelt beside him to kiss him on the ear. He was startled. Then he laughed. His fingers picked the flower slowly out the cup. […] “How are you?” he asked gently. “Better,” she said. “At least for a while. I want to tell you that you are wonderful. And wonderful things happen, as well as terrible things. And when we die, all that happens is that they stop happening.”
– John Dickinson, The Widow and the King
I have finally gotten around to reading “The Widow and the King”. I don’t read much anymore; I just can’t concentrate anymore. I tend to go through phases where I read a lot, and then I read very little. In a way if there was one thing I miss about commuting is that it was, in a way, one of my main reading times. However I’ve not been feeling well this week, which meant a lot of not doing my work and lazing around reading instead. Not good for my studies, but good to finally get through my rather large to be read pile. Anyway.
“The Widow in the King” is the second in the medieval trilogy, following on from The Cup of the World. Like its predecessor The Widow and The King took a while for me to get into. I loved Ambrose, and I adored the glimpses of the old characters like Phaedra and Aun, but Sophia was insufferable. I hated her. I read on, hoping she’d be like Phaedra- spoilt and entitled at first but growing into a mature and admirable person. She kind of did. As the book progressed Sophia grew on me, and I began to get drawn into it and I admit to enjoying it quite a lot. I have cried twice, the first I did not quote so you get the second moment which reduced me to tears (though I’m not sure how this quote works out of context :/)The writing in this book is really quite lovely, and the atmosphere of the book is much like the first: dark, and sad, and painfully romantic at times. I continue to love the way the author writes his characters- with all the flaws that make them human, and believable. The book is admittedly a little slow paced, but I find I like that about it. Very nearly finished this book, and then it’s on to the final in the trilogy “The Fatal Child”. I’ll be sad to let this world go. It’s one of my favourite fantasy settings- because sometimes I want a fantasy that is not the Chosen One vs The Evil One(s), with magic and wizards and monsters.
“And no doubt Hera had a sweetheart somewhere who still loved her- who had not abandoned her and to whom she had expected to return. Perhaps she had not betrayed her own father to death. Perhaps she still thought the world was a place in which good things would happen and go on happening, in which a soul might be free of its own guilt and seek for something more than just the undoing of what could not be undone. “Hera,” she called, trying to keep her voice soft so that no one would be tempted to shut her up. “Hera.” There was no answer, but the whimpering stopped. “It won’t last, this. It won’t last forever.” Still there was no answer. Whatever Hera was thinking she was silent in her hood. Phaedra rode on, and did not know if she pitied her maid or envied her.”
– John Dickinson, The Cup of the World
I am really enjoying reading The Cup of the World. It is so wonderfully written, so thoughtful and well paced. The language of this book is almost hypnotic, in the way it pulls you into the world and keeps you there. John dickinson has created a rich and magnificent world with incredible, flawed and real characters. I find the main character Phaedra especially wonderful. At first I hated her- she was a spoilt and entitled girl but she grew as the book went on, and she turns into such a mature and strong woman. You cannot help but realise also that she is very young for everything that happens to her to happen. I read this on the train and I find myself completly immersed, the time of my journey flying by. I cannot wait to finish this and begin The Widow and the King (although I don’t own the last in this series, so perhaps that will have to wait…)
“I would stare at the grains of light suspended in that silent space, struggling to see into my own heart. What did I want? And what did others want from me? But I could never find the answers. Sometimes I would reach out and try to grasp the grains of light, but my fingers touched nothing.”
– Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
I will admit the only Murakami book I’ve read is kafka on the shore which was at times confusing and pretty wierd but yet after I finished it I realised I had enjoyed it all the same. It was quite profound in its own way. I meant to pick up more of his books after reading that one but for some reason Kafka is still the only one I’ve read. I’ve finally gone through and added almost every one of his books to my book depository wishlist now. I am determined that one day I will have read them all. One day.
But despite his odd appearance Eliot had an air of effortless self possession that made Quentin urgently want to be is friend, or maybe just be him period. He was obviously one of those people who felt at home in the world- he was naturally buoyant, where Quentin felt like he had to doggy paddle constantly, exhaustingly, humiliatingly, just to get one sip of air.
Lev Grossman, The magicians.
(I love this book so much and I’ve not even halfway through. It resonates with me. There’s something incredibly realistic about the characters and their emotions despite the fantasty plot.)