Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In mourning

I just finished Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island and I'm sad.

Yes, you can see the ending coming a ways off, yes it's easy as a reader to become enamored of fictional plots that are neat and organized and aesthetic in a way real people never are, but I kind of fell in love with Teddy.  This may say more about my never ending love affair with lost causes than about the book itself, but it was great.

And sad. And why so sad?  If you haven't read the book or seen the movie but want to, I don't want to ruin it for you but . . .

It's sad because the story is so full of loss, and the trope that losing something you love tears away a part of you - part of your soul that you form in these relationships and that you'll always miss and can never recover.  Because love and relationships are far more than the sum of their parts (good and bad parts).  Cawley and Chuck mourn Teddy, Teddy mourns Dolores and yet at the end wishing to save someone you love, even being willing to take the bullet for them if could (in whatever form the bullet takes), isn't enough if you aren't honest, if you won't really do what it takes and sometimes that means admitting you can't fix it without help.  Teddy is trapped and alone, but the novel makes it clear he didn't have to be and he has moments where even he sees the choices he didn't make.  And the novel also does a great job of painting these relationships that are clear and loving and special and that lapse into pathology with fearful ease.

Okay, done now, the next one will be about knitting, promise.

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