”And does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that is too grand, too considered a process. History burps and we taste again that raw onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.”
That’s from Julian Barnes’ A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. I’m pretty sure I read this book before; I went on a real Barnes extravaganza a few years ago— and do you likewise, O Ratty who likes novels! Just do not read The Only Story— But In reading or re-reading it now, I find so many passages I’d like to quote. And this is when I miss the codex, where I could fold down pages, sometimes with several accordion-like creases if I reeeeely wanted to make sure I could find it again!
This quotation is from a chapter where the author is meditating on why we humans have (are prone to? are susceptible to?) love. Not why we have sexual attraction, that’s fairly obvious. But as he points out, we don’t have much reason to believe animals experience “love” as opposed to the mating musts and possibly, companionable habit and familiarity, and the knowledge of dependence exhibited by our pets (my dog excepted!)
Now this is a brilliant book, O Ratty, I promise. Barnes’ “history” begins with the Flood, the Ark, and you will find that in every —well, some of the chapters are short stories, some are essays—but as improbable as it seems when you begin each new chapter, the themes will be there! Clean and unclean, selection, purging, loss, apocalypse, wanderings on a trackless sea, the narrowness of our present heritage ( cuz yes he’s right: never mind where Cain got his wife; per the Bible, Noah is our common ancestor, all of us!)
It’s a cool, rainy afternoon here on our Plateau, and I’m grateful to have Barnes as an entertaining, enlightening reading companion. I’m posting this in case any of you, O Ratty, are like me, bereft between books, a “castaway” if you will, until I sight my next book and clamber aboard, parched but ecstatic….
Whosoever hath ears to hear, let them hear!❤️