March 21, 2010

Beloved has been growing on me



Very, very oddly.

We have a bit of a love-hate relationship, Beloved and I. I love the narrative style, the strange mix of what was with what wasn’t, what is with what isn’t. I love the way it mostly follows a straight storyline, then changes its mind and twists and bends and turns. There’s something about the unexpectedness that makes me pay just a little bit more attention, like a plot twist, but fascinating as opposed to exciting.

My qualm with the book is how emotionally draining it is to read it. Yes, it is designed to provoke sadness, but if it causes so much hurt that the reader stops moving forward, then it’s undermined its own position. Reading a book should not lead me to think of masochism. Yet, the more I’ve read, the less the pain within has bothered me.

There’s some odd beauty in its undulations. I didn’t really see this until it took a sudden dive into the two “I am Beloved and she is mine” chapters. I read the first one at night, before bed, and I went to sleep with “a hot thing” echoing between my ears. When I finally chased it away, I was left with repeating pairs of words, words not even in the chapter itself but that still were stuck, reverberating, inescapable.

The next morning I went on to the poem chapter. I don’t know that it’s actually a poem, since I liked it, and I don’t tend to like poems, but these lines had voices, the same repetitiveness that characterizes Beloved, and words that felt like baby-talk, almost. Words that lacked meaning and yet had twice as much. It’s funny, really. I still have trouble reading the book, sitting down and digging in and immersing myself, but I can still see it, in my head, and it’s becoming beautiful.