Book Notes: Rosa Montero’s Cronica del desamor 

I’m not a huge admirer of novelist Rosa Montero, so I never considered reading her first novel Cronica del desamor published in 1979. If her mature work is not that good, I mused, the very first novel must be quite weak. Critics were unanimous in their dislike of the novel, which strengthened my reservations. 

And then I was forced to read the novel (for my research) and discovered that critics are idiots. It’s extremely good. It’s just the kind of writing I enjoy. A wonderful, wonderful novel. Sadly, the writer’s later work didn’t live up to this first novel.

What’s really funny, though, is how similar the novel is to the literature that was written in the former USSR immediately after its collapse. It’s as if the end of totalitarianism produced the same literature in entirely different places. Somebody could write an article on this. Not me, though, because it’s not the kind of stuff I care about. 


Days 8 & 9 of Spring Break 

1. Wrote and submitted another abstract. 

2. Made fregola and spring greens soup for Klara. 

3. Finished Cronica del desamor and started Wasted Lives by Zygmunt Bauman.

4. Went to the gym.

5. Made another atrocious Soviet dish.

This has been a great spring break. I feel very rested and ready to start another spring break immediately. There won’t be one, of course, but I’m ready. 

Strange Class

There is a very weird class at the gym on Sundays. Women on huge transparent heels and in tiny little shorts stand in bizarre poses. Then they shift slightly and stand in different yet still bizarre poses. It looks like they are preparing either for a beauty contest or for a career in prostitution. 

The class is not listed on the brochure and I feel too shy to ask. 

Drawbacks of Unsociability

It’s great to be unsociable because the time not spent socializing goes into your intellectual growth and family life. But there are drawbacks. For instance, nobody tells you about the time change, and you end up getting up at six and milling uselessly about the house, worrying why the baby is not getting up and is she unwell and why the cell phone is showing the wrong time and is it broken again. 

Outdated Election Practices

Another huge problem with the Clinton campaign were the endless fundraising emails. They made her look dishonest  (because they were dishonest) and made her sound like a telemarketer. Trump wasn’t doing the fundraising carpet-bombing. He was getting the coverage on his own, with his own media presence. That made him look stronger and more capable. 

The whole Clinton campaign was beyond outdated. I hope these lessons have been learned and future Dem candidates ditch these old-time practices.  

And by the way, the supremely obnoxious Monica Vernon who spammed my mailbox with half a dozen of teary emails A DAY for over a year and who made me hate her name forever and ever lost the election to a Tea Party freak. 

So candidates, please, enough begging. Go do things yourself, show that you are not a bottomless money-guzzler. 

I Need to Get Out More

It took me until now to discover why people around here are so delighted by Reza Aslan’s new show on religion. I registered the widespread joy but had no idea what it was about the show that was causing it. Folks were high-fiving it at the gym, at the store, and at work.

I wonder if Aslan will now compound the jubilation by showing Muslims engaging in something atrocious. Even more Muslims, I mean. Christian fundamentalists might actually throw a parade.