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~生まれた町で夢見てきた...~
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Strait is the Gate by André Gide 
1st-Jul-2006 06:04 pm
Reading
My first novel by André Gide. Hopefully, I will be able to pick up the $2 Dover Thrift Edition of The Immoralist from Borders sometime in the "1 to 6 weeks" they're going to need to stock it. :P

Gide, André. Strait is the Gate. Trans. Dorothy Bussy. 1924. Woodstock: Tusk Ivories, 2004. (First French Edition: 1909)
Summary: Jerome and Alissa are in love, but happiness on this plane of existence is not to be. Convinced that holy transcendence is the most important of ideals and equally convinced that she is the only thing holding Jerome back from it, Alissa rebuffs his advances and ultimately dies, leaving Jerome forever unsatisfied.
Comments: Whew! Talk about tragic, high-minded romance! And idealism, romanticism, aestheticism, and religion--all rolled up into one monstrous, masochistic ball of angst. Gide was homosexual, you say? Yeah, I can definitely see it. Heck, Jerome's love for Alissa seems virtually platonic, and they DO apparently get along better in writing than they do in person, even without Alissa's interference in that respect. (Makes me think of the contemporary difference between online and real-life relationships and wonder.) Anyway, I'm so NOT won over by the whole "Our love will be consummated in the next life" thing...and I don't think I'm supposed to be. On the other hand, Gide does seem seduced by such high-minded ideals nevertheless. What makes the story even more irritating is that there is nothing, but NOTHING, especially after Juliette marries another man, holding them back. Not family, not society. They're doing it to themselves, and that's the greatest tragedy of all. I particularly loved the evocative ending, with Juliette grieving for herself and those that she has loved and lost. (Oh, and a postscript: I hope someone hurt Bussy for not providing translations of all that poetry and verse.)
Notes: trade paperback, 1st printing
Rating: 6.5/10 - An entrancing story about how screwed up love can be...as long as you're in the mood for that sort of thing.
Comments 
2nd-Jul-2006 12:16 am (UTC)
Gide was very homosexual. One of the first openly gay writers. The Immoralist is worth reading.
2nd-Jul-2006 12:22 pm (UTC)
I remember how I wanted to grab Alissa by the shoulder and give her a good shake, yelling "Girl, snap out of it!"

The book itself is beautifully written.

Have you ever thought Alissa's almost stubborn "high-mindedness" is a result of having an impulsive, instable mother? Though Alissa's mother is only briefly mentioned, she reminded me of how creole women were usually portrayed as a beautiful, passionate and insane breed.
2nd-Jul-2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
Have you ever thought Alissa's almost stubborn "high-mindedness" is a result of having an impulsive, instable mother?

Yeah. Her mother's situation was definitely written to be juxtaposed with Alissa's character, and she did state in her journals that she did not want to be like that.

Though Alissa's mother is only briefly mentioned, she reminded me of how creole women were usually portrayed as a beautiful, passionate and insane breed.

That's a standard stereotype associated with any ethnicity, group, or nationality deemed somehow inferior to the majority.

2nd-Jul-2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
I haven't read this one, but I very much liked The Immoralist and The Counterfeiters.
1st-Aug-2006 04:32 am (UTC)
Review archived.
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