Friday, February 1, 2013

Upside Down and Turned Around

I am having trouble believing Benioff's book, City of Thieves.  In the first forty pages his main character, who has just been arrested by the Soviet military police, begins daydreaming about the girl he sees while being interrogated by a Soviet general.  Call me crazy, but I think your mind would be in a different place in this scenario.  

That being said, I love books that don't add up.  I mean take Narnia for instance.  When Peter challenges Miraz in Prince Caspian we all believe completely that he will be victorious.  So why not have a young man who has been caught stealing from a dead German soldier be allowed to focus on a girl instead of the cold, the hunger, or the pain that he is in.  

The sanctity of the Holocaust.  

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas goes as far as you can without being offensive.  I guess when you are doing historical fiction you really should remember how painful the time you are talking about is.  If Narnia had seen the deaths of thousands of unicorns and talking horses over one brief period where Miraz had reigned, well than that might be off limits as well.  

I don't know.  These stories do provide hope.  That is what it is all about.  Hope in the face of brutality. It is a delicate balance.  What can we think without being disrespectful? And why not add a little hope to a bleak story.  Maybe, somebody did get to have a piece of cake during the Reign of Terror.  Maybe someone did get to meet a beautiful young girl.  It is certainly a slippery slope.  Thanks for that perspective Benioff, reading the truth is a little too painful.  

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is truth.  It is cold and the prisoners are hungry.  And those two things follow the prisoners every day of there ten or twenty-five year sentences.  They count the days.  Every slow day.  Every slow minute while the cold bites into you and hunger gnaws at your stomach and sanity.  

Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops - at all

-Emily Dickinson

Sometimes flying far above the awful truth is the only way to hear it.

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