Son de mar

I read Son de mar by Manuel Vicent. It’s a wonderful story, full of emotion, full of heart, full of feelings and the atmosphere is very unique. The immersion is very well done, and the reader is taken exactly in the time and place where the author wants it to be.

It’s a strange love story, full of symbols, full of myths, about the discovery of love, the discovery of lust, the need for getting close, and the need to get away, to explore, to find, to experience, and the need to return. Based on the legend of Ulises, the story first presents the ending: a drowned couple in the Mediterranean sea, and then goes on with the beginning. The symbols start to appear from the first page: the couple are dressed as a bride and groom, the groom resembles a man who has already died, but somehow he was still alive again. They both return to land dead, after a long story, just to be reunited in death, as they seem to have been united in life.

The story starts from the beginning, with a young and full of fantasy adolescent love, between a young and inexperienced history teacher, and a young girl, a waitress, who at 18 years old, fancies stories, legends and cinema stars. They discover together love, affection with words, physical contact, lust and desire. After a while their life becomes dull, only in a single place, on the Mediterranean coast, until one day, Ulises is lost at sea, presumed dead. Even if their love was never confessed, Martina suffers deeply and greatly, and never finds joy again. Even after years of mourning and a new marriage with a very wealthy man, her joy was still in the years together with her first husband, in their poverty, by the sea, eating fresh fish and serving at the bar.

As in the legend, Ulises returns after ten years of exploring the world, as a new man, experienced, full of new stories, but back to his first love, which he still considers the woman of his life. Martina accepts him, this time as a hidden lover, for her love and affection to him was beyond the facts and the reasons for him dumping her without a word for ten years, with a young son to grow. Even if her life moved on, Martina is still forever connected to him, even without words.

Their hidden life cannot last forever, Martina’s actual husband discovers them, and they run at sea, this time having their boat sunk for good, both of them ending their lives as seen in the beginning of the story.

The book is full of poetry, a Romeo and Juliet story, accepting their sad fate, but this time even if their love was consumed in their own marriage, their happiness was never completed. They were too young to be happy together, and then it was too late, as the strings attached could never be broken free. Somehow the story presents the impossible love, even if it was achievable at first, it was still impossible. Thus, the paradox implied gives the reader a feeling of grief.

The very strong emotions presented are touching, makes us feel to want to enjoy and appreciate the people in our lives, and the time we spend together with the people we love, as the future holds much of the unknown, even if maybe at some points, people have to be separated in order to understand what they mean for one another, and be happy together, in the short or long time they have to share.

Love lasts three years

I have read Love lasts three years, by Frederic Beigbeder. A very short novel , cynical, funny, written in a modern way, Love lasts three years is an argumentative speech over the theorem given by the title.

We see a life experience of a marriage, then adultery, love and divorce, through the eyes of an young man, who jumped to a hard conclusion in his life, that love cannot last longer than three years, and then trying to convince himself with all possible arguments, to support this scenario. A young man falls in love, lives happily with his wife, a year full of passion, a year full of tender, and then a year of boredom, only to fall in love with another person, cheat, and divorce.

As it looks to me, the character of this novel experiences a very strong emotion, passion, that subsides with time, which is somewhat normal, but emphasizes this into his life tragedy. The author wants to underline the fact that too many young people marry too soon, before knowing very well the other person, and more importantly, before knowing themselves. So, circling around the main theme, love and marriage, we find a good example of a person trapped in a marriage without knowing really themselves, and then because of the society norms, finds himself trapped in an forbidden relationship, which affects him deeply , especially because it’s forbidden and elusive. At a more mature age, he finds a mature love, and his evolution in time gets him in a situation which is hard to escape from.

We can pick some few motifs that are highlighted in the book. First, it’s the model of the young man, scared of getting trapped into a marriage. Second, is the young man, who is already trapped into a marriage and wanting to escape. Third, it’s the man who always wants what he cannot have, and gets bored and doesn’t like what he already has, the man who does not appreciate his life. We also have an intellectual who wants to find logic and reasoning in love, feelings and emotions. The character wants to find an explanation, an excuse, for dumping his wife, for getting in love with another woman. So, we have the motif of the trapped intellectual.

In the end we are being given the hope that maybe in some situations love doesn’t really last three years, as the adultery couple manages to get and be together, even if their relationship is not exclusive.

Beigbeder explores an old theme, in a modern fashion, no inhibitions, pure brainstorm, mind exercise, bringing arguments for a big issue of the 21st century: marriage and divorce, the traditional versus modern family, future of the family as the basic cell of the society. Overall an interesting book to read, worth an hour in an airplane flight.