Sunday, February 08, 2009

I may turn into a book blogger yet....

I am currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and I came across the following paragraphs that I just loved. So...I had to share them. Florinda--you are right--you may yet turn me into a book blogger!

"The cherry plum test is extraordinary for its disarming clarity. It derives its power from a universal observation: when man bites into the fruit, at last he understands. What does he understand? Everything. He understands how the human species, given only to survival, slowly matured and arrived one fine day at an intuition of pleasure, the vanity of all the artificial appetites that divert one from one's initial aspiration toward the virtues of simple and sublime things, the pointlessness of discourse, the slow and terrible degradation of multiple worlds from which no one can escape and, in spite of all that, the wonderful sweetness of the senses when they conspire to teach mankind pleasure and the terrifying beauty of Art.

The cherry plum test is held in my kitchen. I place the fruit and the book on the Formica table, and as I pick up the former to taste it, I also start on the latter. If each resists the powerful onslaught of the other, if the cherry plum fails to make me doubt the text and if the text is unable to spoil the fruit, then I know that I am in the presence of a worthwhile and, why not say it, exceptional undertaking, for there are very few works that have not dissolved--proven both ridiculous and complacent--into the extraordinary succulence of the little golden plums."

Ahhhh, I love food and so take great delight in the idea of measuring the worthiness of literature against the perfection of a single piece of fruit. Food and reading--two of my favorite things in the world. Brilliant, I say, just brilliant.


Florinda said...

I love that you share such extensive passages from your reading, and that your reading is so eclectic - you definitely broaden my reading horizons.

I do believe your future lies in book blogging, my friend - yay :-)!

Anna Lefler said...

When my book is done, it will be able to take on pretty much any banana that comes along.

;^) Anna

ChefDruck said...

Okay, you have now inspired me to pull this book out of my pile. I have it "en Francais" which is always harder for me but your endorsement is encouraging me!

Karen said...

Thanks for the comments guys! Florinda--if I ever get my act together to write more than a status report on FB, you may be right! Anna, can't wait to read your banana!

Vanessa--I would love to read it in French, but my French is no longer good enough. Maybe now that I have read it in English and if I kept a French dictionary by my side....Please let me know how it is in French. Must be better than in translation--and I really liked it in translation. I was sobbing on the plane when I was finishing the book. The big fat guy next to me was looking at me as if I was about to explode....!

Unknown said...

Wow.nice article.thanks for sharing.

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