Thursday, May 28, 2009
A few words about the photograph. It's by Willi Ronis. He's a street photographer.
This book could have been two books. I felt that it was rushed to the end a bit. The pace picked up and became less poetic when it should have been more poetic as the later part of the book concentrates on Lucien the poet.
I was not disappointed. After The English Patient and In the Skin of the Lion, I read Anil's Ghost. That book wasn't as poetic. Divisadero is poetic but also high in concept without the accoutrement that goes with high conception. It begins with understanding the title of the novel. In the Skin of the Lion is also a title that suggests the craft of story telling but in Divisadero the suggestion of the craft of the story telling is carried out. In other words, it's not just a decoration but a device to tell a story. To witness this craft in action is quiet exciting. To explain a little bit what 'In the Skin of the Lion' means. It is a line taken from Gilgamesh. I imagine a group of people sitting around a fire at night and the skin of the lion is passed around from one person to the next. When you wear the skin, you have the podium, the floor, and it's your time to tell your story, to dazzle your audience. That's the craft of story telling. Divisadero, is a division of time, connection, and distance. It is through this perspective of distance that one can see clearer what has happen to those events that change one's life. It is as if one must assume the lion's perspective, be protected in this lion skin to tell this story and make sense of the Violence that Ann when through which tore the make-shift family apart. The high conception comes in the notion that the past and present can be entered through imagination and memory, the tools of a story teller. For Ann, she enters the skin of the lion in France, far away from her family back in California. She enters the story of Lucien the poet. It is from this safe place protected by the distance which is her lion skin to tell a story that is somewhat similar to her past circumstance.