24.04.2016

A Little Life de Hanya Yanagihara


Ok, deci cartea asta. Cartea asta nu este neapărat cea mai bună carte pe care am citit-o, dar cu siguranță este cea mai reală și m-a făcut să simt atât de multe lucruri diferite; a făcut un dezastru din mine și inima mea. Și pentru că în momentul în care am început să scriu această recenzie (inițial în engleză, pe goodreads), fața mea era roșie de la plâns și aveam probleme să respir din cauza plânsului, această carte merită iubire.

Totuși, am sentimente conflictuale legate de cartea asta. Cum poți vorbi corect despre o carte în care găsești atât de multe? Cum poți iubi cu adevărat o carte care te face să suferi zilnic și cum poți urî cu adevărat o carte care te-a făcut să simți atât de mult zilnic? Încă nu am găsit un echilibru între tot ce simt pentru cartea asta, deci iată-mă încercând să împărtășesc tot ce am găsit.... magic în A Little Life.

Cartea urmărește viețile unui grup de patru prieteni - începând cu experiența lor la facultate (acesta fiind și locul în care s-au întâlnit) și continuând cu decenii după. Totuși, cartea se concentrează asupra sărmanului și tânărului Jude, dar viețile lor sunt încântătoare mai ales prin cât de simplu și nesigur cei patru navighează prin ele. Cine nu s-a îndoit de propriile aptitudini, pe măsură ce timpul trecea? Cine nu a fost sigur de valoarea sa la un moment dat și cine nu a simțit prea grele așteptările societății? Găsești răspunsuri la aceste întrebări în această carte, și încă multe altele, într-un mod foarte dureros.

Avertisment! Cartea asta cuprinde o multitudine de teme grele, precum: abuz sexual/viol, self-harm, depresie, dependența de droguri și cam orice altceva ce intră în această sferă. Este o carte dificilă și nu îndulcește evenimentele. Este greu să înghiți unele lucruri din cartea asta. Este greu să te forțezi să treci prin pagini în unele momente și cu siguranță A Little Life îți oferă îndeajuns de multe motive să plângi și să-ți simți starea ducându-se cât de jos posibil. Deci da, cartea asta cu siguranță va afecta cititorul, deci nu o recomand dacă sunteți sensibili sau vă deranjează temele pe care le-am enumerat deja.

Dar știi, în timp ce are toate acele subiecte mai puțin frumoase, găsești de-asemenea topicuri precum prietenia: importanța ei și cum poate influența o persoană, modul în care dinamica unui grup de prieteni se schimbă odată cu persoanele din interiorul lui, pe măsură ce anii trec. Sau familia: cum uneori o familie construită de tine este mai dorită. cum un părinte se simte de fapt când se confruntă cu creșterea unui copil. Pasajele acestea au fost preferatele mele, gândurile în legătură cu relațiile interumane și viață în general, mai ales că o grămadă de paragrafe au rezonat cu ceea ce cred și eu. Mă regăsesc în personajele acestei cărți - și cred că de aia și înseamnă cartea asta atât de mult pentru mine la momentul actual.

Dar!! Personajele sunt absolut extraordinare și cu siguranță cea mai bună parte din A Little Life. Ai un cast diversificat (persoane de culoare!!) și niște personalități absolut incredibile. Nu am destule degete la ambele mâini să-mi enumăr preferații: pur și simplu am considerat prietenii lui Jude adorabili, ciudat de familiari. Am totuși două personaje care mi-au plăcut super mult: JB, un artist cu o tonă de probleme și și mai multe decizii groaznice, și totuși nu am putut să nu-l iubesc, să nu-i doresc binele pentru că el e cel în care m-am regăsit cel mai mult, cel al cărei acțiuni am putut să le prezic cu zeci de pagini înainte. 
Și, bineînțeles, Andy, un doctor cu o personalitate puternică și un proces de gândire minunat, și probabil cel mai bun prieten pe care și l-ar putea dori cineva. Iubirea mea merge către toate personajele cărții ăsteia, către micile universuri pe care și le-au creat, către viețile lor cu toate grijile, insecuritățile și gesturile blânde, excursiile anuale și obiceiurile de familie - totul atât de realist prezentat că puteam să simt mirosul de mâncare, neliniștile, căldura grijii și îmbrățișării lor. Sunt cu toții minunat portretizați și de acum înainte, îi voi mulțumi acestei cărți pentru atâția indivizi atât de viu imaginați, că i-am simțit reali în timpul întregii lecturi. 

Un lucru pe care l-am apreciat la cartea asta a fost ușurința cu care aduce în discuție sexualitatea personajelor. Totul este acceptat pe măsură ce vine și este înviorător să vezi că viața merge mai departe fără a se lăsa influențată de cine este atras de cine. Pentru că, știți, așa funcționează și lumea reală, și a fost minunat să văd iubiți și lesbiene menționați cu atâta naturalețe. Nu pot decât să sper că într-o zi toate cărțile vor avea parte de asemenea tratament, iar cele mai groaznice specimene ale umanității vor învăța să accepte asta.

Dar cartea asta te va distruge. Nu am nicio idee dacă ăsta chiar îi e scopul; de fapt simt că doar încearcă să-ți arate cele mai urâte părți ale vieții, ale existenței umane, dar o face foarte bine. Știi ce urmează, sunt destule premoniții în legătură cu viitorul personajelor, și te gândești: Oh, o să fiu pregătit când va veni. Dar atunci când partea dureroasă chiar vine, este de zece ori mai rău decât cel mai rău lucru pe care ți l-ai imaginat. Sau vine, și totul e okay până când o replică, o singură replică te face să începi să plângi incontrolabil. Nici nu mai știu de câte ori am plâns în timp ce făceam naveta din cauza cărții ăsteia, sau câte minute mi-au trebuit ca să respir ca lumea după o parte prea intensă a cărții, pentru că totul era prea mult. Am citit A Little Life în bucăți de 40-50 de pagini, și chiar dacă printr-un miracol nu vărsam nicio lacrimă, atunci sfârșeam cu o durere de cap. Pentru că numeroasele incredibile sentimente regăsite în cartea asta sunt transmite cititorului în timpul lecturii. A heart is a heavy burden, dar nu cred că am înțeles exact această frază până ce nu am empatizat cu ce se întâmplă în cartea asta.

5/5

JB wore a perpetual expression of mild disbelief while at his job, both that he should be working at all and that no one had yet thought to recognize his special genius.

Their faith in him, in his ultimate triumph, remained unwavering, almost disconcertingly so. They were convinced - even as his own conviction was tested so many times that it was becoming difficult to self-generate it - that he would someday be an important artist, that his work would hang in major museums, that the people who hadn't yet given him chances didn't properly appreciate his gift. Sometimes he believed them and allowed himself to be buoyed by their confidence. At other times he was suspicious - their opinions seemed so complete opposite of the rest of the world's that he wondered whether they might be condescending to him, or just crazy.

Here, they would even be able to save a little money, and what did they need more space for, anyway? Of course, they both craved beauty, but that would have to wait. Or rather, they would have to wait for it.

"Yes, Ma," he'd say. And then he'd eat his breakfast and leave for the day, stepping out into the world in which no one knew him, and in which he could be anyone.

Here, however, you made art because it was the only thing you'd ever been good at, the only thing, really, you thought about between shorter bursts of thinking about the things everyone thought about: sex and food and sleep and friends and money and fame. But somewhere inside you, whether you were making out with someone in a bar or having dinner with your friends, was always your canvas, its shapes and possibilities floating embryonically behind your pupils.

When did pursuing your ambitions cross the line from brave into foolhardy? How did you know when to stop?

But these were days of self-fulfillment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost opressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.

New York was populated by the ambitious. It was often the only thing that everyone here had in common. [...] "Ambition is my only religion," JB had told him, [...] Only here did you feel compelled to somehow justify anything short of rabidity for your career; only here did you have to apologize for having faith in something other than yourself.

Although maybe love was too much to ask from his parents. They had lost so many children that perhaps they simply either wouldn't or couldn't surrender themselves wholly to the ones they now had. Eventually, both he and Hemming would leave them too, by choice or not, and then their losses would be complete. But it would be decades before he was able to see things this way.

Although they'd of course been warned that their lives would be misery for years, how they had all of them, to a one, assumed they'd be the exception (and now all, to a one, secretly thought they still would be).

At such times, he envied his friends for the exact things he had once pitied them for: the fact that no one had any expectations for them, the ordinariness of their families (or their very lack of them), the way they navigated their lives by only their own ambitions.

To whom could he explain that he found as much contentment and safety in unloved Lispenard Street, in his bomb-shelter stockpilings, as he did in the facts of his degrees and his job? Or that those moments alone in the kitchen were something akin to meditative, the only times he found himself truly relaxing?

He had learned not to share evidence of his oddities as a way to distinguish himself from others, although he was happy and proud that they shared theirs with him.

He wasn't stupid, but he suffered from a lack of passion, as if, at twelve, he had already become resigned to the fact that life would be a disappointment, and he a disappointment to the people in it.

But what was happiness but an extravagance, an impossible state to mantain, partly because it was so difficult to articulate?

Friendship, companionship: it so often defied logic, so often eluded the deserving, so often settled itself on the odd, the bad, the peculiar, the damaged.

"The world has two kinds of people. Those who are inclined to believe, and those who aren't. In my courtroom, we value belief. Belief in all things."

"You see, Jude, in life, sometimes nice things happen to good people. You don't need to worry - they don't happen as often as they should. But when they do, it's up to the good people to just say 'thank you', and move on, and maybe consider that the person who's doing the nice thing gets a bang out of it as well, and really isn't in the mood to hear all the reasons that the person for whom he's done the nice thing doesn't think he deserves it or isn't worthy of it."

He experienced the singular pleasure of watching people he loved fall in love with other people he loved.

"If I were a different kind of person, I might say that this whole incident is a metaphor for life in general: things get broken and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully. Actually - maybe I am that kind of person after all."

You were boys who assumed that people would like you, not from your arrogance, but because people always had, and you had no reason to think that, if you were polite and friendly, then that politeness and friendliness might not be reciprocated.

She was an only child, as I was an only child, and my father was an only child, too: a family of onlys.

I have never been one of those people who feels that the love one has for a child is somehow a superior love, one more meaningful, more significant, and grander than any other. I didn't feel that before Jacob, and I didn't feel that after. But it is a singular love, because it is a love whose foundation is not physical attraction, or pleasure, or intellect, but fear. You have never known fear until you have a child, and maybe that is what tricks us into thinking that it is more magnificent, because the fear itself is more magnificent. Every day, your first thought is not "I love him" but "How is he?" The world, overnight, rearranges itself into an obstacle course of terrors. I would hold him in my arms and wait to cross the street and would think how absurd it was that my child, that any child, could expect to survive this life.
It doesn't matter how old that child is, or when or how he became yours. Once you decide to think of someone as your child, something changes, and everything you have previously enjoyed about them, everything you have previously felt for them, is preceded first by that fear. It's not biological; it's something extra-biological, less a determination to ensure the survival of one's genetic code, and more a desire to prove oneself inviolable to the universe's feints and challenges, to triumph over the things that want to destroy what's yours.
When your child dies, you feel everything you'd expect to feel, feelings so well-documented by so many others that I won't even bother to list them here, except to say that everything that's written about mourning is all the same, and it's all the same for a reason - because there is no real deviation from the text. Sometimes you feel more of one thing and less of another, and sometimes you feel them out of order, and sometimes you feel them for a longer time or shorter time. But the sensations are always the same.
But here's what no one says - when it's your child, a part of you, a very tiny but nonetheless unignorable part of you, also feels relief. Because finally, the moment you have been expecting, been dreading, been preparing yourself for since the day you became a parent, has come.
And after that, you have nothing to fear again.

There had been periods in his twenties when he would look at his friends and feel such a pure, deep contentment that he would wish for the world around them would simply cease, that none of them would have to move from that moment, when everything was in equilibrium and his affection for them was perfect.

"And Jude-" But he didn't, or couldn't, say anything else.
"I know," he said. "I know, Willem. I feel the same way."
"I love you," said Willem, and then he was gone before he had to respond. He never knew what to say to when Willem said that to him, and yet he always longed for him to say it.

There is a flurry of picture-taking, with everyone taking photos of everyone else in various arrangements and configurations. He is the only one who doesn't take any at all, as he's in every one.

Decades of approbation, of affection are stuffed into this one afternoon, and he gorges on it, reeling from the strangeness of it all.

I never had friends, either, not for a very long time, not until I was much older than you. I wanted them, too. And I always wondered if I would ever find any, and how, and when. And then I went to college, and I met people who, for whatever reason, decided to be my friends, and they taught me- everything, really. They made me, and make me, into someone better than I really am. The only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are - not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving - and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad - or good- it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.

All you really have to do is just be a good person, which you already are, and enjoy your life. You're young. You have years and years to figure out what you want to do and how you want to live.

Why wasn't friendship as good as a relationship? Why wasn't it even better? It was two people who remained together, day after day, bound not by sex or physical attraction or money or children or property, but only by the shared agreeement to keep going, the mutual dedication to a union that could never be codified. Friendship was witnessing another's slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person's most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return.

He thought of his time with the organization as his salute to his friends, all of whom were living the sorts of lives he marveled at: he considered them such successes, and he was proud of them. Unlike him, they had no clear path to follow, and yet they had plowed stubbornly ahead. They spent their days making beautiful things.

Cartea nu este momentan tradusă și în română, dar a câștigat niște premii destul de importante, a fost printre finaliștii nominalizați pentru Man Booker, deci îmi imaginez că nu va mai dura prea mult, și va apărea și pe rafturile librăriilor de la noi din țară. 
Citatele nu sunt toate, pentru că sunt bolnavă și îmi este prea lene să mă dau jos din pat, să-mi caut ereaderul și să copiez restul citatelor. Mâine după-masă voi pleca la țară; sper să apuc să programez alte postări. Dacă nu, anunț de pe acum că postările wrap-up și favorites vor ajunge întârziate, în prima săptămână din mai cel mai probabil. 

Un comentariu:

  1. Îți doresc însănătoşire grabnică şi,de asemenea, un Paşte fericit alături de cei dragi care să-ţi aducă bucurii, fericire şi împlinirea tuturor visurilor pe care ţi le-ai propus,dar şi multă sănătate în general! Citatele sunt superbe şi foarte profunde şi cred că această carte face parte dintre cele datorită cărora ajungem să ne autocunoaştem,însă şi să înţelegem şi să privim viaţa dintr-o altă perspectivă. Şi, deşi nu-i cunosc conţinutul şi nici finalul,tind să cred că în ciuda lucrurilor negative şi triste care se întâmplă cartea vrea să transmită mesajul că acea "luminiţă de la capătul tunelului" există. Nu ştiu... Cert este că " A Little Life " mi-a stârnit interesul! Îmi poți spune unde ai găsit-o ? Se poate găsi online în format pdf? Să ai o călătorie plăcută!

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