Life and All The Names


I’m still here, albeit in a lesser sense, but I’m still here.

I’ve had a rough couple of months. I’ve been over worked, emotionally strained, more stressed than I’ve ever been, hit bottom, and slowly began to  find myself again.

My little girl, my beautiful kitten had a genetic defect, which didn’t affect her until she grew to a certain size. Being a manx my little Lux had manx syndrome and lost nerve control at the end of her spine and all the corresponding sphincters. My landlords got angry, my vet bills got expensive (even though the vet did nothing for her and I did all the research). In the end I had to put my little girl down at nine months old. I couldn’t bare to watch her in so much pain. I live with pain every day and I couldn’t put her through that. She now resides next to my first cat Cleo, who lived a good 17 years. She lies under a bed of evening primrose.

The stress and grief have kept me from writing and reading. I couldn’t think of anything else. I’m still grieving, even though it’s been almost a month since I lost her. But things are getting easier. Today, I actually feel a little bit more like me.

So I chose today to finally finish reading All The Names by José Saramago. I’ve loved every novel of his that I’ve read. All The Names, however is the only one that has left me with a complete and utter sense of the spectacular beauty that lies in the most ordinary people. Blindness and Seeingwhile masterfully written, open your eyes but make you weep for humanity. The Cave makes you cringe at the horrible way our lives are dictated by the cold fist of capitalism. All The Names just gave me an incredible sense of the complexities and subtitles of the human condition.

The story is almost disappointingly simple. Senor José, a clerk at the Central Registry, has a hobby of collecting the life information of celebrities from the news papers, but when he accidentally takes the registry card of an unknown woman he sets out to find her. He doesn’t do much besides research. There is absolutely no action whatsoever, unless you consider walking and bus taking action. But Saramago’s style is so captivating that you don’t even realizes there isn’t any action. There were so many passages in this novel that I fell in love with. Here’s on of my favourites:

“As for the metaphysical thoughts, my dear Sir, allow me to say that any brain is capable of producing them, it’s just that we cannot always find the words.”

Of course, naming the main character after one’s self gives rise to a plethora of questions and gives new meaning to the character. But the depth in which his thoughts were written and the conversations that Senor José has with himself reflect so well the inner workings of a person who spends nearly all his time alone that you forget that you’re not reading about yourself. I’m kind of a major loner myself these days and to know that other minds work so tirelessly to explain things to themselves gives me a sense of comfort.

The only thing I didn’t much care for in this novel was the way it was translated. This happens whenever I read a book by Saramago or Marquez. The grammars of our languages are so different. While the translator did a great job, I’m just not fond of reading dialogue between people all in one sentence or having about 30 clauses in one sentence separated by commas. But, that’s really more of a taste issue.

I highly recommend that you read All The Names. By the end you wont help but have a soft smile creep onto your face.

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