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The Good Times Are Killing Me

I'm a nerdy girl with too much time on her hands, and too many books on her to-read pile.

Currently reading

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Lucy Crane, Walter Crane
Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolaño

Casa de las bellas durmientes, la

La casa de las bellas durmientes - Yasunari Kawabata One of the best things about my friends from work is that most of them aren’t allergic to the written word (I adore my best friends, but getting them to read something other than “Twilight” or “Why Men Love Bitches” is futile). I’m not the kind of person that ask people about their reading choices if they haven’t started the conversation themselves for fear of coming across as some sort of arrogant book nerd, but at work two things did start this line of conversation: The first was charging my kindle on my office’s computer, and the second was my “so it goes” forearm tattoo. These two little things have marked the beginning of many book talks around my office, and are the origin of plenty of interesting recommendations. Kawabata’s novella is one of the books I’ve discovered in this fashion, and it proves that at least there’s one girl at work whose opinion on literature I can fully trust.The story is simple enough: An old man learns of the existence of a house where men beyond a certain age get to sleep with narcotized young women, and when I say sleep, I mean it: It’s forbidden to have sex with any of them. The book takes us through each one of Eguchi’s (our protagonist) visits to this “house of sleeping beauties”, and shares with us the memories he evokes while exploring his companion’s bodies and minds. The memories presented say a lot about Eguchi’s life, as much for what they represent as for the things they don’t mention, and paint sad portrait of what it means to age, including the desperate search of beauty even when one can no longer extract physical pleasure from it. When my friend gave me this book, she told me that its true achievement was to make attractive the ugliness of our inner nature, to write beautifully about violence, and to be erotic without being explicit. I fully agree with that opinion, and would like to add that here Kawabata confronts us with our own fears and desires. We’re sleeping with these women too, and seeing in them what our particular experiences and expectations dictate. We’re all Eguchi, and the sleeping beauties, and the woman on the other side of the door profiting from the exchange. We’re all inhuman, and ugly, and cry for a good night’s sleep next to someone unwilling or unable to judge us. There’s a lot more I could say about this book, but the novel is too short and I don’t want to spoil it for anybody. So find it, read it, and join our growing Kawabata fan club. :)