Wednesday, August 19, 2009

So I am Reading Along ...

... and it's a book about travel -- aptly called a "memoir." Susan Jane Gilman's Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. Initially I was a skeptic. I picked it up in the bookstore (Kepler's ... my favorite), read a few pages and pooh poohed it. A few weeks later, desperately, I went back and picked it up. Now --- I am sort of bathing in it. It's unheralding and unpresumptious, perhaps the first read I recall where the writer clearly experienced the same Asia I did:
Claire Screamed.
What is it about cockroaches? People live with houseplants that grow spiky and grotesque as the creep over bookshelves, strangling things with thier overgrown tendrils, their genitals exploding every spring, littering the gardens and tabletops with thier rotting petals. People live with cats who clawthier furniture, coating it with dander and milllions of adhesive hairs, filling the bathroom with ammonia-scented feces and tracking urinous kitty grit all over the floor. And dogs? Those Slobbering, deficating, crotch-sniffing, face-licking shit-eaters. I've seen people literally clench bits of breakfast sausage between thier lips and let their schnauzer eat it out of their mouth as an act of low grade beastiality. And yet it's
cockroaches that propel us into a frenzy of primeval disgust.
"Oh no." Claire announced, ... "I can't stay here."

I am becoming a fan. She is profoundly clear ... so far ... on how bizarre it is for a suburbanite to be travelling in Asia ... It's a fairly good read so far ...


The Old Bag said...

Love the paragraph you quoted!

shawnkielty said...

Thanks -- it was a pretty good book. I am inspired to tel;l some of my own tales of travel in Asia.

Oh ... perhaps.