Days of Abandonment

I had a whole day of business meetings today, some better than others. The last one was a bit adversarial and I hate that, we are all adults, we are supposed to work as a team, I like it when we do that in preference to scoring points off each other. If we just wanted to make each other’s lives difficult, that’s what the internet is for. You shouldn’t start arguments with me unless (a) that is the express point of the meeting and we don’t have anything else to accomplish in the time available, and (b) you like losing and having someone who is 20 years older and better educated than you are wipe the floor with you in front of your colleagues. Which I resisted doing on this occasion because I am gradually learning diplomacy but I still have not reached the level of Zen calm that would make me immune to feelings of annoyance when people want to start arguments that are beneath their intelligence as well as my own, and that they cannot win.


The scales this morning said 164.4 pounds, which is 1.4 pounds less than yesterday and I can’t have lost that much fat since yesterday but on the other hand I am not complaining.

I finished another book, that’s really what I came here to report. I finally finished reading The Days of Abandonment (2002) by Italian author Elena Ferrante. It reminded me of Sylvia Plath. It is a beautifully written account of a woman’s precipitous descent into mental illness, in this case, as a result of her husband leaving her for another woman. She struggles to make sense of her marriage, her life, who she is now she’s been abandoned. She also struggles with looking after their two children and the dog, and she struggles with things like getting the front door open, so that she is trapped in her flat for quite a long time, with the kids and with the dog who is dying under his master’s desk, all the while drifting into fugue states.

It is beautifully written, I cannot fault the writing, and it is quite depressing, which is why I don’t read a lot of Sylvia Plath. Ferrante perfectly documents the emotional turmoil of the newly abandoned wife and mother who has had her marriage and her life as a married woman taken away from her. There just isn’t any relief from it. There isn’t any real happiness and there isn’t any social comedy. Not that I think all books should have these things but after spending several days with this thoroughly depressed, newly single character, I was quite glad to leave her to it. So I am not going to recommend this book even though it is critically acclaimed and the writing is impeccable.

Now I have to spend the evening vigorously cleaning my house because we are on a schedule here with upcoming travel, which is the way I like it. I get more done when I have relatively less time on my hands.

1 Books point.


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