Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This Too Shall PassThis Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a short, languid novel of the narrator's sadness and ennui in a seaside town in her ancestral summer. After her mother's death, she is stunned by grief using drugs, sex and alcohol to cope as she looks back at memories of her mother, her boyfriends, her two ex-husbands, while contemplating mortality. The author offers some lovely passages: "Nacho belongs to the summer just like the boating trips do, or the naps in the hammock, or the freshly baked bread we buy straight from the oven on our way home after being out all night, kneaded by the arms of drowsy men who watch us devour it with sad eyes." Or "I could describe each and every corner of my mother's house. I know and remember the changing colors of the mahogany shelves where she kept her books, from mahogany to garnet and finally black according to the time of day and when dusk fell. I know the exact temperature of my father's hands, like bread fresh out of the oven, and in a snap I could draw you the half-empty glass of red wine he always kept in the kitchen."

I could smell the Med at Cadaques and the fresh bread. Not much happens, little plot, but moments and musings, yet I wanted to pick the book up every evening and be back in Spain. Maybe it has a Catalonian sensibility, the painful loss she feels, the distanced lovers, her two young sons, close friendships with women, the warmth of the sun, the sleeplessness. Who is the narrator once she is no longer a daughter? "I will never be seen through your eyes again," she says in the imaginary conversation with her belated mother which threads through the book.

"A seductive voice" says the back of the book, a "summery, sexy , cool," "one of the most elegant books you'll read" declares the French paper. So the seductive elegance enticed me enough to finish the book in a day or two.

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