Friday, November 26, 2010

The Appointment

You can sleep all you want but the day is still there waiting and the bed is not another country.

A young, unnamed Romanian seamstress living in Nicolae Ceauescu’s regime is constantly summoned. Her crime is having sewed ‘’marry me’’ notes into the Italy bound trouser pockets in the factory where she works . The hope is to escape the country. Women could apply to get married. It was all about Italy. It was nothing about him(the potential husband). It was about going from being bare assed poor to having a marble vase on your table.

There is of course always a battle between content and form.Here the content is unnerving. You are invited as voyeur into this woman’s mind, as she takes a tram ride from her home to meet General Albu for an interrogation.The prose is like thought process , especially as it would be in a totalitarian system- disjointed, scattered, wretched, random, hopeful. You end up reading in rhythm,this happened , that happened, her best friend died, her body splattered red like a bed of poppies , the nut, it always helps to eat a nut to face the summons.

And so, the form is not friendly, not conducive and you feel like an outsider visiting neurosis. You understand how terror’s largest presence is not in the
fire of bombs or the drums of gunfire but in the rhythm of the mind trying to retain sanity, the mind that occasionally tips over, scrambles back to an uncertain balance.

The first and the best: don’t get summoned and don’t go mad, like most people. The second possibility: don’t get summoned, but do lose your mind.. The third: do get summoned and do go mad. Or else the fourth: get summoned but don’t go mad like Paul (her lover) and myself….or to be young, and unbelievably beautiful and not insane, but dead.

Her tram journey was supposed to take her to the interrogation but
she misses her stop and where she goes is worse, by far.

The trick is not to go mad.

Rating: ***1/2

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