Provocative title, indeed, is the first reason why I took this book out from one of the shelves in the book store. Not knowing who Toni Morrison is, I then kindly asked the good book store keeper to open the plastic wrap of the book so that I can take a peek of what this book is about actually. And voila, apparently Toni Morrison is the author of Song of Solomon and she’s also one of Nobel Prize winner for Literature. So this book must be good, I thought.
The book consists of 11 essays, written by 11 word class authors. They write about writing itself, about freedom to write and about the life as writers. And as the cover said, they speak out on the power of the word.
And since almost all of them are award winning authors, the book is difficult!! At the time I tried to read the first page, I directly stumbled on a lot of sophisticated words that I didn’t understand . And I decided to stop reading it until I brought my Oxford dictionary back home :p
I braced myself then, and try to read it again. Word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page. Slowly, patiently.
The essays are really good. Some of them are still quite difficult, even with the help of Mr Dictionary, but I manage to finish 10 essays so far 🙂
Found some good slices from the essays, and this is my favorite;
Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader, and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. I have spent my life in conversations with people I have never seen, with people I will never know, and I hope to continue until the day I stop breathing.
– Talking to Strangers, Paul Auster-
In the essay, Paul tells us that human have special needs to always want to get new story, listen to it and always want to know the next. That is the reason why we like to spend our time to read a book or watching movies. But for him, from all of medias available to deliver stories, novel is special because, according to him, there is one reader, each and every time only one reader. And it is so true. One novel can be produced in million copies, but for each time there will be only one reader who perceives the novel by his/her own personal knowledge and experience. That is why each person can have different perception of the story. One unique perception.
Moreover, a novel is fictional which creates even stronger bond between the writer and the reader. Imagine, for each connection of a novel, a writer and a reader you will get an unique imaginary world that is unlimited, beyond anyone else’ imagination. A nice way to create a bond between strangers.
My favorite essay in the book is The Man, the Men at the Station by Pico Iyer. It’s the simplest essay, yet the story gives me the greatest sound in the heart. Read it by yourself if you don’t believe me 🙂
In 5 words I would describe this book as smart, honest, difficult, dangerous and sexy :p