Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What You Did Today, That Was Love.

1. When the novel "Adam Ressurected" (Hebrew: Adam son of Dog) came out in the early Sixties, it was met with grave misunderstanding and hostility by the Israeli public. Its protagonist was not palatable to Israelis: Here was a Holocaust survivor battling severe PTSD, who also happened to be a human being in the full sense of the word: worldly, passionate, a whisky lover, a womanizer, a hot temepred man and a professional clown, no less.

We like our Holocaust survivors as unhuman as the candles we light in memory of the victims. Yoram Kaniuk's Adam is a man who goes very credibly to the two extremes of the human existance: On one hand he is perhaps the most fully complex man of modern Hebrew literature, on the other hand, he's a dog. The chief officer at the concentration camp kept Adam as his dog for an entire year, forcing him to eat and act like a canine, while coordinating the murder of his family. Sometimes that memory overtakes him, then he barks and bites and becomes ever more human.

It was a strange book to read, and the new Paul Schrader film based on it is just as strange (which is an artistic achievment). The imagery is truly difficult to stomach, the experience of loss and humiliation penetrates more powerfully than it should in a Hollywood film and Adam, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum, is exactly that impossibly surreal and therefore real being. Goldblum gives one of the most beautifully human performances I have witnessed, breathing life into a rare tale that is truly humanist.

2. The first complements given to my novel "I'll Meet You Halfway" come from Roy Chicky Arad, a gentleman who truly deserves many complements himself for his diverse activities, and has received them on this blog before. What I like especially is that he calls this blog "One of Israel's finest". Dude! I feel special now for writing it and I hope you do for reading it.

3. No man in his right mind would admit this, but I got emotional watching the final episode of Sex and the City. I wrote about it for Haaretz at the time, and described it as being made up of four very different statements about love. After Miranda washes her demented mother in law and cares for her, her child's nanny tells her: "What you did today, that was love". Samantha's lover returns early from filming in Canada to mend her post-cancer self confidence crisis and make her orgasm madly and beautifully. Charlotte and her husband lovingly give up on adopting the baby of parents who are unsure of the sacrifice, and Carrie distances herself from the man who is ignorant of her needs, finding her way back to the one who is willing to invest in her.

Four lessons in love.

It would make a wonderful, albeit cheesy habit to end each day by asking oneself: what have I learned about love today? I am doing so tonight. I've learned many things I did not know.


Shahar said...

I just stumbled upon this blog through Chicky's link, and I'll have to dig back into your archives sometime soon, I guess.
I didn't even know about your novel before reading Chicky but since I really loved "Oh Susannah" it is now in the top of my buying/reading list.
Your short paragraph about the SatC finale reminds me of something I wrote about a year ago after watching a rerun of it. While we do share some conclusions I found the Kerry-Big plotline of it rather ridiculous.

Yuval said...

I rather agree, that was the weakest link.