Thursday, June 28, 2007

The group over at HBO is reading 'Water For Elephants'. I suggested this book because I loved the incredible balance of narrative and dialogue. The story is, despite the degradation and poverty of the American Great Depression, quite hopeful. It's about freedom and captivity. Here is a passage, my favorite of the book, that moved me deeply:

"The food and bedding for the animals arrives shortly thereafter, in wagons rather than trucks. When we cart the hay into the stable tent, the horses nicker and rumble and stretch out their necks, snatching mouthfuls before it even hits the ground.

The animals in the menagerie are no less happy to see us--the chimps scream and swing from the bars of their dens, flashing toothy grins. The meat eaters pace. The hay burners toss their heads, snorting, squealing, and even barking in agitation.

I open the orangutan's door and set a pan of fruits, vegetables, and nuts on the floor. As I close it, her long arm reaches through the bars. She points at an orange in another pan.

"That? You want that?"

She continues to point, blinking at me with close-set eyes. Her features are concave, her face a wide platter fringed with red hair. She's the most outrageous and beautiful thing I've ever seen.

"Here," I say, handing her the orange. "You can have it."

She takes it and sets it on the floor. Then she reaches out again. After several seconds of serious misgivings, I hold out my hand. She wraps her long finger around it, then lets go. She sits on her launches and peels her orange.

I stare in amazement. She was thanking me. "

The need to be understood, and loved, is universal.

The 'Kan EWA


toadman said...

Nice.. I'm looking forward to reading this book...I just hope I'm able to keep up with the reading since my schedule is anything but full of free time to read and such...

The Fool said...

Hi Cheechako. That's a very heart-warming vignette you have chosen to share today. The picture it painted in my mind made me smile. Thank you. And yes, the need to be understood and loved is so powerful. Have a great Thursday.

Sara E Anderson said...

I picked up my copy today, and am looking foward to reading it. Did you ever look into Carnivale?

mamaJD said...

Okay, that's it. I guess I'll grab a copy and give it a go.

PDX Pup said...

Sara, I watched Carnivale religiously and loved it. I was sad to see it go off the air just as things were getting interesting...

JBelle said...


Toadster: This is a lovely book and you will be able to put it down but you will look forward to going back to it. It is soooo interesting,too; so much stuff about American life during the Depression.

Lord Foolish: I absolutely loved that passage. ASking for permission and then saying thank you. And the risk the guy took by responding. I get the image of the orangutan on her haunches enjoying her orange and it just does me in.

hey Sara! good job on the book club. Innovator you are. I'm going to get to Carnivale this weekend; I'm going to start on the phone and then follow up in the car. Can't wait. :) yuuum.

Mamaj: on this is such a good book. And an unusual book. Fabulous imagry.

Peedy: of course you know Carnivale, right? it's hot here. Hoopfest,too. JM to go to LV for the 4th; just who's going to go with me to CdA for the parade??? :(

PDX Pup said...

the hell? LV? What fer?

and dammit, those firecracker outfits better be en route. Can I get an amen on that one Bronx Boy? Benihana? haha.