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A Reader of Fictions: Can't Help Falling in Love - Ingrid Michaelson

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can't Help Falling in Love - Ingrid Michaelson

Becoming George Sand

Rosalind Brackenbury
Pages: 296
ARC Acquired from:
Mariner Books via NetGalley

Brief Summary:

Maria, a college french lit professor, has been having an affair with a grad student (in the sciences, so he's not her student). This has been happening for a while and she is completely caught up in the physical and emotional thrill of it. When her husband, Edward, clues in, as generally happens eventually, her life has to change. Her separation from her life as it once was firmly entrenches her within her George Sand obsession. She sees something of herself as she is and as she wants to be in this fascinating nineteenth century authoress.

The description of this book, at least as I wrote it, does not remotely do the book credit. Largely because the story is not the real point. I mean, it is and it isn't. More than being about a plot it's about what it's like being a woman, about the spaces between love and marriage, about feminism, and about literature and language. The writing is completely gorgeous, sucking me in from the first pages, even though the opening scenes chronicle the affair, a thing in which I have little interest. To me, there is no excuse for cheating and I do not believe Maria's romanticized idea of it (and not just because I know what happens later); the treatment of the affair in early pages reminds me of Chretien de Troyes, and how in that time folks believed that true love had to be extramarital.

Rather than speaking to what I loved and didn't (what little there was of that) as I usually do, I really want to include some of my favorite quotes and let the author speak for herself.

"'You can't be loved whatever you do. You have to be someone good, to be loved. People can't just love you for existing.'
'Hmm. Well, maybe. You don't believe in unconditional love?'
'Yes, I do, but it's for babies. You have to be worthy of love.'" (221).

"That's it, the last gesture of a long friendship lived over distance and time, without frequent meetings, between two languages; a friendship built over books, plays, poems, the written word." (252).

"What is it she needs, at this point in her life? To touch another life, to have it touch hers. To create, to understand. To give back. To be part of a whole." (286)

Brackenbury obviously wholeheartedly loves and appreciates literature, which makes her such a joy to read. I now want to check out George Sand and to read a biography of her life, as she sounds fascinating. Today's song is dedicated to George, Maria and all the other optimistic women who keep looking for love and thinking they've found it (and sometimes been wrong about that).

"Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you"

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Blogger Heather said...

This does sound really good! Thanks for bringing my attention to it.

May 18, 2011 at 9:50 PM  

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