The acclaimed, award-winning author of A Watch of Nightingales imagines in a sweeping and stunning novel what happened to the poet Elizabeth Bishop during three life-changing weeks she spent in Paris amidst the imminent threat of World War II.
Before Elizabeth Bishop was a famous poet, and a faithful keeper of journals, she had an adventure. What? We don’t know. For all of the material in her journals, there is a blank space, noticeable by its absence. The year was 1937 and the author has filled in what could have been. Beginning in 1930 and continuing to 1979, the author has imagined what may have happened. And it’s a really good idea!
She and her Vassar roomies are headed to France! An adventure. Seemingly unaware of the trouble brewing all over Europe. War is on the way. No one is trusted. Everyone is being watched. When Elizabeth is introduced to a group helping to save Jewish orphans by taking them to convents in Paris, her life is forever changed.
There was a kind of vagueness about a lot of the characters. I kept asking questions in my head about the lack of information. To tell you the truth I still am not sure, but then neither was the author about those 3 weeks.
It left me with a lot of questions that no one had the answers to.
NetGalley/ June 11th, 2019 by Simon Schuster
I came to you broken
A million jagged pieces
asking you to give me back what I was.
Raging against the storm
the rain stinging my face
I demand this
Give me back my self
I need to know myself
I need to see myself
I beg, I plead, I cajole
but there is only the wind and the rain
the wildness of the storm
It is the same storm
that lives inside of my soul
It is the same storm that has ripped out my heart
and left me in this broken, empty state
I am angry, beyond angry
I don’t want to be here anymore,
I don’t want to do this
although I am not even sure what this is
By dawn, the storm and I have both exhausted our fury
The sky is clearing and I am left in a heap
on the wet grass
Spent, empty, cleansed
As I open my eyes I see one tiny shard
Sparkling on the ground
Written on it is the word Peace
I pick it up and smile
Nothing is what I thought
Nothing is in my control
I can only collect the tiny pieces of my soul
one at a time and put myself back together
Today would have been my father’s birthday. I wrote this after a week of over 100 degree heat and finally a storm blew in. I’ve put myself back together again, but the pieces will never be the same. One day I shall see you in Valhalla and we will drink and dance and tell stories again.
It’s been 6 years since Daddy left us. I can’t say the other word yet. Not any where ready for that.
Every day I think of countless things I need to ask him. How do I get these deer to stop tearing up my yard? Can I shoot a turkey out of season if it’s messing up my yard?
Did I think he would be here forever? In my head, no. In my heart, oh yes.
I don’t like this. I want to smash things…people..just anything to get this out.
I honestly didn’t think I would be like this. I am a logical person, not really prone to emotional outbursts. But I’ve never been brought to my knees like this. I think a part of me is pretending it isn’t true.
It feels like the world should have stopped. I am offended by life going on as if nothing had happened. This is monumental and has affected the rest of our own lives but life goes on for the rest of the world. I understand this in my head, again, but not in my heart.
Will we ever be whole again? I’m tired of people giving me books to read on grief. I know all the stages of grief. Is there something worse than grief? If so, that’s what this is. Heartbreak. Sharp, gut wrenching, take your breath away pain.
I don’t want to hear the platitudes that come with a death in the family. I am aware that what I want is irrational, and I don’t care. I want to stomp my feet, throw myself on the ground and scream until someone pays attention and gives me back my father.
And on some days I find myself doing the same thing I would do at age 5. Yelling, ” Wait for me, Daddy, I want to go with you”, and the funny thing is I feel like he is just right there…right on the edge of somewhere..waiting.
That’s all for today..I love you Daddy..
Happy Father’s Day Daddy!
How Much I love You
How much I love you I can’t say:
It’s more than words can hold.
You’re all at once my rich, red clay,
My potter and my mold.
Yours the words that shaped my voice,
The spirit within mine.
Yours the will that shaped my choice,
My fortune, and my sign.
How lucky I was to have had you
At the core of me!
Wise and good, you always knew
Just what I could be.
And so I came to be someone
Whom I could be proud of.
For this I give my swollen sum
Of gratitude and love.
In the book Forty Rooms, by Olga Grushin, it seems to all come down to choices. We see her life through forty rooms. First the rooms in her families Moscow apartment. Each room is a choice, or a decision to be made and the next room is the outcome of that choice.
The first part of the book is her childhood in Moscow, how her parents and friends influence her and I thought it was beautifully discussed.
The second part of the book is when she ( we only know her as Ms. Caldwell ) leaves for college in the United States. Another choice, another action. Trying to be a poet, have a family. You gain one life and you give up another.
The last part of the book is The Present. Where after all the choosing and all that she has been through and done, in the end her life was that of most women.
This is a book that is complex, sad, beautiful and complicated and I am so happy that I read it!
This book was released in 2016 by Penguin Group.