Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Torch by Cheryl Strayed

I spent much of Sunday night discussing this book so I won't go on here. Suffice it to say that I liked Torch, but felt that my knowledge of Strayed's biography, learned from her fantastic essays and Dear Sugar column, detracted from the story itself. It was not what I expected; I felt that the book lacked the balance of brutality and compassion that characterizes Strayed's nonfiction work. The addition of sensual details, especially relating to the rural setting, would have added some of that back in.

However I wanted to share this passage from the book about forgiveness:
Years passed. She was thirty, then thirty-five. Slowly, stingily, she forgave them without their knowing about it. She accepted the way things were—the way they were—and found that acceptance was not what she imagined it would be. It wasn't a room that she could lounge in, a field she could run through. It was a small and scroungy, in constant need of repair. It was the exact size of the hole in the solar eclipse paper plate, a pin of light through which the entire sun could radiate, so bright it would blind you if you looked. She looked.
This passage waves to the wrestling Forgiveness Twins, Impossibility and Necessity, while foreshadowing the incomplete forgiveness that hounds the characters after Teresa, the character who's forgiveness of her parents is examined in the above passage, dies unexpectedly.

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