January 4, 2009

From the Diary of a Mad Jewish Woman

From the upcoming film The Road.

Adapted from a journal entry:

Between The Road, Sirens of Baghdad (a complex novel about the genesis of an insurgent in Iraq that I finished two days ago) and the quagmire in Gaza, it's hard not to be thinking about the end. The Big End. The Big A.

So I've spent a strange amount of time recently mulling over the apocalypse. Nuclear war. It can seem oddly inevitable in these new, dark times. I've also been listening to a lot of Mountain Goats—and somehow John Darnielle seems like the person I'd want singing me to the bitter end (preferably with the grim dread of "Dilaudid" or the magical huff of "If You See the Light").

Yet there are still so many redemptive things left to experience in this world: Thai food—chilies and lime and the slither of noodles tossed with oil—or hot, sweet tea with milk at a street stall as rain pours into the streets of Penang. And there are books like The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. A Miracle. A work so nuanced and majestic that it makes you rethink the worthiness of the human mind.

I forgive Chabon for the cruelty of the novel's long separations—maybe even the soul crushing tragedy of Thomas, sent to the bottom of the ocean—because he offers reunion, catharsis, and the story's own story of angst and redemption: the dissolved Golem of Prague, reanimated with paper and ink.

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