I’ve really been enjoying The Book of Salt, even though it’s not something I would normally pick up. I know I’d read about it when it came out – the fictionalized account of Gertrude Stein’s cook. Nuh-UH! Are you kidding me? That kind of thing normally leaves me cold. But a friend lent it to me, and I started reading it without reading the jacket. By the time it came to me that I knew what the book was about, it was too late. Now I have to keep reading for the language.
Yep, it’s over the top all right, but somehow Truong gets away with it. It might be because the book is ABOUT language that she can get away with being so purple, but I don’t hate its luridness. Actually, I’m digging it.
Just listen to this about jade:
Oh, you know what? Never mind. (This is still me, not Truong.) What was purple and moving in bed after a cocktail last night (see below) is now just annoying. I’ll just show you MY jade instead:
When I was little (you’ve heard this already? I’ve written it? You know I’ve forgotten if I have), I always had a plastic tiki. My mother had the real greenstone one. She told me on every trip to New Zealand that when I was a grown-up lady, I could buy myself one. Always the pragmatist, my mother. So last year, when the whole family went, I did. It’s one of my three most precious objects. (Not that I really have three, I just bet I could come up with three if pressed….)
And I do believe that it’s the most alive kind of stone. It does feel like it breathes next to me, and the way it warms up against my skin is comforting. When I was dating T, she had such respect for it (not that she doesn’t now, you know what I mean…..) She refused to touch it at all. While this felt a little silly, I really liked that she felt like she did – that she believed there was power in such a little totem. The other day at Peppa, a couple of women closed their unknown fingers right around it: “Oh, how pretty! What is it?” No mojo was wiped off, as far as I can tell, but it was a little annoying. He’s MINE. He’s scaring away MY demons with the haka face. Oh, god. Wanna see my haka face? I RULE when it comes to the haka. (Christy’s gonna kill me.)
Okay, just a few lines from the book.
On making love with someone with whom a common language is not shared: “We will attempt to tell stories to each other using just one word.” Too rich, but sweet. My teeth ache in a good way.
Also on sex: “There is no narrative in sex, in good sex that is.” And I like it that she doesn’t try to force such a narrative.
Tonight: Boy Meets Boy finale. I’m terrified that Franklin will be the straight one, and that will be too horrible. It has to be Trying-to-Have-Gay-Hair Pompous Ass Wes, it just HAS to be. I can hardly wait.
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