Finished two books in the midst of sprinting through a 巾幗梟雄 marathon. 四奶奶是我的偶像!四奶奶万歲!

1) Broccoli and other Tales of Food and Love, by Lara Vapnyar

Six short stories “linking food to lonely, loveless dating among recent Russian immigrants”. The opening story “A Bunch of Broccoli on the Third Shelf” is about Nina, “whose penchant for letting vegetables wilt in the fridge comes to symbolize her marriage”. Other characters include a lonely immigrant Sergey who visits a prostitute on a whim and ends up finding comfort in the borscht she cooks, and two old ladies who battle over a widower in their English class with competing recipes. The stories are a little whimsical, a little sad, and even the story-related recipes at the back seem tinged with sadness.

2) Love Begins in Winter, by Simon van Booy

“George thought about his journey to the airport. He’d never see those men again. Love between strangers takes only a few seconds and can last a whole life.”

A collection of five poetic stories about love. I like how the stories are more thoughtful than cloyingly sweet, how they seem more real than fictional. Somehow.

“Then he thinks about the idea of a museum: the physical record of things; the history of miracles; the miracle of nature and the miracle of hope and perseverance, arranged in such a way as to never be forgotten, or lost, or simply mistaken for everyday things with no particular significance.”

I like Bruno, the cellist who packs stones in a hatbox, falling in love with the lady who carries acorns in her pocket. Two people who have been hurt by accidental deaths, somehow knowing they are right for each other.

“My father once told me that coincidences mean you’re on the right path.”

“If there is such a thing as marriage, it takes place long before the ceremony: in a car on the way to the airport; or as a grey bedroom fills with dawn, one lover watching the other; or as two strangers stand together in the rain with no bus in sight, arms weighed down with shopping bags. You don’t know then. But later you realize–that was the moment.

And always without words.

Language is like looking at a map of somewhere. Love is living there and surviving on the land.

How could two people know each other so intimately without ever having told the old stories? You get to an age where the stories don’t matter anymore, and the stories once told so passionately become a tide that never quite reaches the point of being said. And there is no such thing as fate, but there are no accidents either.

I didn’t fall in love with Bruno then. I had always loved him and we were always together.

Love is like life but starts before and continues after–we arrive and depart in the middle.”

So beautifully said–“And there is no such thing as fate, but there are no accidents either.”

P/S: 山本さん, I think you will like 巾帼枭雄 very much! ^^ Please watch (and we can discuss it the next time we meet!) 😀

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