Book Notes: Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea

I was fortunate to read this novel for the first time before the ubiquitous online reviews made it impossible to avoid knowing what it was before reading. If you never heard of it, then do yourself a favor and read without consulting blurbs and reviews. It will be a profound experience.

Even knowing what the novel is about, though, the second reading is still a punch in the gut. I read it in three glorious hours, and for the most part didn’t remember or care about that thing I don’t want to name to avoid spoiling the joy for potential new readers.

There are so many things to talk about in this short novel. The amazing journey literature made in a century. The genealogy of female writing, which is a topic I find deeply fascinating. Colonialism. The burden of history. Generational guilt. Racism.

It’s a short novel and an unforgettable ride. Do yourself a favor.

Keto Lasagna

Since we are back in lockdown – this time a weather-related one – it’s back to intensive cooking.

I made a keto lasagna that I always wanted to try. You make it like a regular lasagna but use steamed cabbage leaves instead of pasta.

Then, of course, I kind of ruined the effect by stuffing my face with a slice of carrot cake but it’s not keto lasagna’s fault.

Faith in Elections

People who spent twenty years undermining the public’s faith in election integrity are acting shocked that their efforts worked.

“Bush stole the election from Gore!”

“Russians stole the win from Hillary!”

“Stacey Abrams’ victory was stolen!”

Twenty years of that, and then they are shocked that people are saying, “OK, you win, elections are fake.”

There’s never any accountability. Nobody ever points out to these bastards the effects of what they are doing.

World Leaders

Does anybody have an explanation for why Australia is the world leader in COVID insanity? And Canada is the runner-up?

It’s a serious question. I can’t stop wondering what they’d do if they had an illness that really made people drop dead in the streets and really hurt children. If this is how they act over COVID, what would they do over something bigger?

There’s some sort of a deep defect in these cultures that is causing this. I hope somebody studies it. If you can justify sticking your head into a trash bag, locking people up against their will, and snitching on your neighbor because his grandkids came by to see him, what won’t you do? Is there a limit? Spooked badly enough, what wouldn’t you do?

We always ask these questions after a culture has gone off the rails and loaded people into ovens. Maybe it’s a good idea to start asking this question before it goes that far.

Genetic Memory

Genetic memory is real, my friends. This thing that you see here in the picture is called Borodinsky bread. It’s a very traditional Russian bread. It’s chewy, heavy, thick, sour, very dark, and to a Russian-speaker the only thing that counts as bread.

I absolutely love it.

Klara rarely eats bread. But once she saw me with a slice of Borodinsky, she pounced and declared she loved it. There’s no explanation other than genetic memory.

When N and I see her with this bread and a bowl of borscht, it brings tears to our eyes.