Saturday, July 3, 2010

David Malouf's "Ransom"

I just finished reading David Malouf's brilliant novel Ransom. It opened with the sadness and anger experienced by Achilles and King Priam after the death of Patroclus and Hector. The book then related the well know story from a new angle, telling how King Priam came to the decision to the the thing never done - to approach the killer of his son as a father, not a royal figure, and ransom for the body of his son. It described in vivid but economical details how he reached such decision and how he went on the night journey, accompanied by an old mule carter hired from the market. The story threw open window to the entrapped people (both Achilles and Priam and the people they represent, the Greeks and the Trojans) who tried to untie the knots history and gods bound them to, with comforting or tragic results. The book was short but it never felt slim rather epic and visionary in every way. The beauty of the languages make me chew them over and over, and I could hear music and see clear pictures at many turns of the phrases.

It is a perfect source material for a painting, or a cartoon for tapestries. I also believe that it can be a great foundation for an opera à la Benjamin Britten's Curlew River, sparse yet intense, orderly yet dissonant. Perhaps a composer like Hans Werner Henze (Die Bassariden, Das Floß der Medusa, Elegie für junge Liebende, L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe), Harrison Birtwhistle (The Mask of Orpheus, The Minotaur), or even Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking, To Hell and Back, Moby-Dick) should take a look at this?

Matthew Felix Sun's Live Drawing_1373

Devastating Novel "The Land of Green Plums" by Herta Müller
Ashamed of Oneself - Reading Book "Never Let Me Go"
- Molotov's Magic Lantern: A Journey In Russian History by Rachel Polonsky and Some Journeys of My Own
- Review of "As Above, So Below" by Rudy Von B. Rucker
- Banned Books in Mao's China

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