THE BENEFITS OF WIDE READING
So I'm obviously a devotee of murder mysteries, thrillers, spy fictions, etc. But a recent read from this category, THE GOOD SON, novel by Michael Gruber, was unusual for two reasons. First, it's the first time in a long time that I can recall reading a work of fiction where the characters are both fully realized and yet one senses that it's a work of fiction, versus a believable new world, unfolding within its pages. Second, the author interspersed Urdu and Persian poetry throughout this novel, and he did the translations himself!
The author clearly has a "beautiful mind" (smart, witty, etc) and perhaps it's the discernible presence of this mind that paradoxically prevented THE GOOD SON's fictional world from moving into the realm of pure fiction with a "dead" author. Throughout, one never loses the sense that the world being described as one reads is being written. Yet the novel is still effective!
Anyway, I appreciated this book -- which also gave me somewhat of an introduction to the verses of Mirza Ghalib....and from which I took the following to be an epigraph to a poem in a new manuscript-in-progress:
I am neither the flower of song, nor the tapestry of music,
But the sound of my own breaking.
Oh, I fell in love with that couplet as soon as I read it!!! This new manuscript is entitled, perhaps not surprisingly given the above epigraph, LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH.
"Love is not enough" is a phrase sometimes found in the adoption world when one is discussing failed adoptions. Most adoptions do succeed, but some don't: estimates for failed adoptions range from 1% for infant adoptions to as much as 26% if the adoptee is over 15 years of age. Well, yes, this new poetry manuscript is a ... heart-breaker.