Monday, 23 September 2013

Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The books I love, I love them for different reasons. Sometimes it is quite clear to me why I love a book so much, sometimes I just do and I can't really tell why. I just finished reading Black Swan Green (Dertien in de nederlandse vertaling) by David Mitchell. A wonderful book about a thirtteen year old boy (Justin) with a stammer, living in the little town of Black Swan Green.
Why did I love this book so much? I did not particularly liked the main character, nor was it  an exciting story (although that is also a prĂ©).

Half way the book I realized I love the pace of the book. The speed of sentences, the length of the chapters. Smooth, beautiful and strong.  I loved the references to music throughout the book (the Smiths, the Talking Heads, the Beatles). And I loved being in the Uk, in a small town. Even if it was the eighties. And I think I even loved being picked on by my older sister.
And maybe it is the strong sense of knowledge that this thirteen year boy old will be ok, although all the odds are against him at this stage of his life. He is smart, he has talent. He will get out.
He just reminds me of all the quiet smart ones in highschool. The ones that did not stick out at the time.  The ones I encounter on the streets of Amsterdam. The directors, the artists, the writers.

The other book I read recently is 'Bean Trees' by Barbara Kingsolver. The cover of the book is so hideous that I felt I had to apologize to people. "It is literature, it really is"
I loved this book as well, although I could not relate to this character at all. She comes from small town just like Justin, and was as a kid part of the 'nutter' group. The ones who had to sell walnuts to pay for school. Kingsolver gave a good sense of humor and a good head on her shoulders. And she drives a beetle. (I don't need much fall for some one)
It is one of Kingsolver earlier books and this one shows bits of things that are important to her and made their way to all her other books.  Her love for the spanish language (such a interesting part of the Lacuna) Her love for everything that grows. (Flight Behavior) . And she brings across a message that is important to her. In this case; No man or woman is illegal. I never know whether to admire her for that, or the be a little annoyed with her schoolteacher finger pointing at me....
But this book, if softened my heart. It is sentences like this one:
"Is this from Guatamale" I asked.
She nodded. She looked almost happy.
"Sometimes I get homesick for Pittman an it's as ugly as a mud stick fence," I said. " A person would have to just ache for a place where they make things as beautiful as this."

Thank you Mrs. Kingsolver. I imagine you sitting on your porch, surrounded by trees and bugs, and other critters. Pondering over new stories to tell. I hope you do. Cause your stories move me every time.

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