is it stealing?
So actually for this week I wanted to get another book completely. I searched my university library, searched through the maze of numbers and letters and found the exact spot where the book should have been. Except that it wasn’t there. No biggie, I thought, I’ll come back in a day or two, maybe someone is reading it iwithin the library or something of the sort, and it will emerge on the shelf in no time. Fast forward to two weeks later and the book still isn’t there. After the library help desk concluded that it might be missing, my friend suggested that it might have been stolen. First I was indignant, for obvious reasons, however, I soon realised the genius of it all. The helpful person in the library told me that the book in question had last been checked out in September. Therefore it had been missing several months and only reported to the staff by my desire to find it. If anyone knows how to steal a book from a library that has detectors at the exit, please pass the wisdom on.
And this is why I casually link my ramblings to the actual topic. On could argue that this week’s is simply a modern adaptation of the classic Mrs Dalloway and therefore, perhaps, stealing. The characters and events of the two novels are similar as well as the themes, and especially having read the original I could draw the parallels easily. Which got me thinking whether one could read – or better yet, understand – this book without at least basic knowledge of the original? Is Googling again the only option? What is the value of this book then, without the classic context? Individually speaking, the three stories are well written and very interesting, yet the thread connecting them all together seems rather frail. Then again, would there be people interested in this book who haven’t read Mrs Dalloway? The target demographic for this novel are those already interested in Virginia Woolf and her novels. Most importantly, it is not a copy. It has a story line, a narrative all its own that enables the reader to pop in and out of three different lives that interlock through creative narration. At least there was clarity between the sections which does not always happen in novels/movies that try to introduce seperate voices. I had heard it many a time before that all authors drink from the same pool, which is clearly visible in the recurring topics and the sheer amount of love songs in the world. Technically not stealing then is it?
beside the point
I have read specifically LGBT books for this blog before and it didn’t really cross my mind to include this one into the said mix. Why? Because it falls into the same category as Oranges, perhaps even more. There are members of the LGBT+ group in the book, as protagonists and secondary characters, and yet this is never the actual topic of the conversation. Specific acts may play on the characters’ mind every few pages or so – Laura’s kiss with Kitty is a good example – however, this discussion never reaches a higher plane. Just like in Oranges, it is only a small piece in the puzzle that makes a person (okay, character…whatever, sometimes characters feel more like real people). However, no one in this novel has any issue with the situation. Maybe because it is never made as public as in Oranges. There are no great revelations, no exploding coming out experiences. Only a few minutes of musing eventually dismissed among other little details of the day. Clarissa is with Sally. But she was also with Richard. Who was with Luis. Sally has a friend who is seeing his student, who could really care less. There appears to be something between Julia and Mary, however, the future of that at least is revealed: spoiler alert, it’s not gonna happen. Then again, this is an age where such things are generally viewed acceptable. In the earlier time periods that the novel depicts I found myself thinking similarly to Tipping the Velvet. However, we are only seeing one day, and this particular day is not the day for such musings. There is always something else going on. Which again, could be read as a message that in the end, it is only a small part of you and there are truly more interesting things going on around you. Like more books!
– Jatta –