Monday, July 03, 2006


Am reading Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland

I don't believe there is a writer alive who can communicate the doubts and struggles of post modern (whatever that means) culture...his ability to tap into the hearts of dysfunctional misfits and somehow bring them home is inspiring to me; his genius is to weave a grace that brings meaning and hope into the broken, shattered and mundane world of the refugee... is the opening page of Eleanor Rigby

'I had always thought that a person born blind and given sight later on in life through the miracles of modern medicine would feel reborn. Just imagine looking at our world with brand new eyes, everything fresh, covered with dew and charged with beauty - pale skin and yellow daffodils, boiled lobsters and a full moon. And yet I've read books that tell me this isn't the way newly created vision plays out in real life. Gifted with sight, previously blind patients become frightened and confused. They can't make sense of shape or colour or depth. Everything shocks, and nothing brings solace. My brother, William, says, "Well think about it, Liz - kids lie in their cribs for nearly a year watching hand puppets and colourful toys come and go. They're as dumb as planks, and it takes a long time to even twig to the notion of where they end and the world begins. Why should it be any different just because you're older and technically wiser?"

In the end, those gifted with new eyesight tend to retreat into their own worlds. Some beg to be made blind again, yet when they consider it further, they hesitate, and realize they're unable to surrender their sight. Bad visions are better than no visions.'


Mata H said...

There is a breathtaking chapter about this in Annie Dillard's book, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek". That book is on my list of must-reads every few years. I have given at least a dozen copies as gifts over the years. Please do read it if you can.

The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Annie Dillard along with Anne Lamott is one of my favourite writers...PATC is a gem of a book

Blue Gal said...

late comment. I reviewed Coupland/Eleanor Rigby on Aug 7 and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the review.