Tag Archives: religion

L’isola di due mondi – Geraldine Brooks @NeriPozza @Pulitzerprizes

E’ un romanzo basato sulla vera storia del primo indiano d’America che si è laureato, raccontata dal punto di vista di una ragazzina di quindici anni, Bethia, figlia del pastore della comunità puritana nell’isola di Marta’s Vineyard.

Bethia, come ogni donna che si rispettasse al tempo, era esclusa, suo malgrado, dallo studio e dai libri: la sua vita si dipanava tra la cura della famiglia e le passeggiate nella sua amata isola. E’ durante una di queste passeggiate che conosce Caleb, della tribù Wampanoag: da lui impara la lingua dei locali, ma lo fa di nascosto, perché la sua comunità non approverebbe certe frequentazioni.

Il padre di Bethia è dedito alla conversione degli indiani e a tal fine accoglie in casa sua proprio Caleb, al fine di convertirlo e di farsi aiutare nella missione.

Alla fine Caleb riuscirà davvero a laurearsi ad Harvard, tra mille difficoltà, sebbene l’epilogo della sua storia vera sia un pugno in faccia alla nostra voglia di lieto fine.

Il romanzo è davvero bello: la mentalità di Bethia è resa molto bene tra la sua voglia di ribellione e la sua acquiescenza indotta, tra la sua attrazione per Caleb e le vicende amorose con lo studioso che poi diventerà suo marito.

Niente è dato per scontato: né il suo futuro, né quello degli indiani. Non ci sono smancerie, ma ben si sente la tensione tra lei e Caleb.

Interessantissima la descrizione dell’Harvard dei primi tempi, in cui c’era un settore dedicato agli indiani per la cui manutenzione venivano raccolte offerte da molti benefattori; offerte che non di rado venivano intascate dai baroni universitari.

Un’altra prova che i premi Pulitzer sono affidabili (molto più di uno Strega o di un Campiello).

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Joseph Anton – Salman Rushdie

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I can understand the need of Rushdie to write such a memoir after what he had experienced.

Frankly speaking, I am not a great fan of his books: I started to read “The Moor’s last sight” but I did not manage to get the end. Too difficult for me, I lack English-based culture and a lot of foreign references. And although I do not particularly like authors and comedians who tease religions but… you cannot kill people for this!

In this memoir Rushdie is astonished by the journalistic attack and fact that his book Satanic Verses is considered as an insult, and not as a literature piece, as if he had writter hundred of pages just with the aim to tease the prophet.

But I think that such a memoir is rather repeating: you cannot write all those trials to collect political support, because at the end all those names, all those back and forth become boring. I know that you have to let the reader understand what you have been through, but once you said that “reading is about joy”, and I assure you that 649 pages on this matter are too many.

On the other hand, I loved the parts where he described his meeting with other writers: Christopher Hitchens, A. Roy, Susan Sontag, Paul Auster, H. Pinter, Nadine Gordimer, and many, many others. I mean: I do not find people who read books, and there you see a group of people who write books!

In general, this memoir balances itself between resentment against people and institutions and newspapers that did not support him during the fatwa period, and love for people who helped him. Sometimes, between the lines, I thought to read too much resentment, as if the memoir was a broad road to take his revenge, a place where he could express his point of view against the haters. I can understand it, although I did not like it.

So: an interesting memoir. But let me utter my tip to the author: please be quiet with young and nice-looking girls. I am talking about his last wife, Padma, the model. How can such an intellectual loose all his mind on a woman who has nothing in commong with him on a literature level? (Although I think that we should also listen to her version of the story, I do not think that such a beauty goes very deep with her readings..)

No matter how many books you read: if you have not born wonderful, you have no chance to become a friend of any of your literature heros. Maybe you can meet them at a book event, but they forget you, if you are not like Padma or Elizabeth. This is the lesson that I go on receiving.

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Holocaust – Gerald Green

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I usually like reading Holocaust books because I do not understand yet, how a full nation can become so cruel or indifferent to a Whole people group. And book after book… nothing changes. I mean, I do not understand it yet, but maybe I memorize the little symphtoms that a nation show when it is choosing that way. In this period of great immigration, this faculty can become useful.

Anyway, this novel has been born as a script from the same author, and from the script it maintains the same scenes fastness.

The most interesting parts are the ones dedicated to the nazi Erik Dorf, who did not particularly hate the jews at the beginning, but who at the end becomes one of the most fierce defendor of Holocaust. Is the evil really so banal?
Well, the lost of compassion is gradual, and if you do not stop to think, you cannot notice it.

The same thing can happen to each of us. Somethimes we need to stoop and think.

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The Reluctant Buddhist – William Woollard

imageLet’s talk about Nichiren’s Buddhism.

William Woollard, scientific TV author, got first introduced to Buddhism during his travels in the far East. Then – after his divorce, that left in him a deep scar – he met Sarah, who became his girlfriend, and who already was buddhist. Wollard started studying this “religion” just to find some arguments to rebut hers.

He was convinced that Buddhism had nothing to do in our current world, full of consumism and work: he still had in mind the stereotyped Buddhism, not the true one.

Actually page after page, practice after practice, meeting after meeting, he discovered a more profound meaning, something that went beyond the statues and the incenses. He found out the he felt better.

A lot of self help books, nowadays, try to help people to find happiness just taking some isolated suggestions of Buddhism.

Its aims is to find happiness. Happiness is not something that we can find outside; we all know this, and despite this we go on looking for richness, partners, holidays, houses, cars, jewelry and so on.

Happiness is a choice. It has nothing to do with religion, if with this word we just mean some outside practice and obedience. It is all about self confidence: the certainity that we can become better than we currently are.

Somethimes we just forget it. Therefore: just memento!

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