Thursday, December 10, 2009
Ma Jian's 'The Noodle Maker' and Antonia Fraser's 'Marie Antoinette - The Journey'
I found Ma Jian's The Noodle Maker in the bargain section of Booker for $8.50 (I'm not surprised since I found an early Pramoedya Ananta Toer book there too) And I bought another book by a guy called Bolano (nyo on the n, I don't know how to find spanish letters here) but I haven't gone past a few pages. here's what I have to say about Ma Jian.
I found out that it was written after the Tiananmen Massacre and things are on the brink of change in China as new reforms and attempts towards modernisation are being made. I'm not sure but reading too much feminist blogs have provided me a better insight as to how women and womanhood are perceived towards literature shedding a good light on what is wrong with 'presumptuous culture' (a phrase I think I would like to coin myself).
An excerpt from page 52 of a character called Su Yun.
"They invaded every part of me", she wrote, 'They wanted my chastity, but they didn't respect it. I wanted their love, but they just pulled out their dicks and squirted their sperm over me. They destroyed all my dreams. where can I hope to find love now?...Just because they have stolen my innocence from me, does that mean I must lay myself bare and expose every part of myself to them? Men are no better than dogs. They believe that when they lift their legs to piss, the ground beneath them becomes their territory. If I don't conceal my true nature, how can I satisfy their desire for feminine restraint and refinement?"
And another pg.64
"...what do women matter? they just want a man to lean on, they don't mind who he is. Only friends care about a man's quality. Women are products of their environment. They want to pity the unfortunate and sponge off the rich."
It seemed to me at some point that female characters were sort of two dimensional while male characters were hahaha three dimensional figures capable of feeling and logic at a balanced pose whereas women were driven by their emotional state altogether. Sound familiar? Dumb much?
the proverbial wise male and driven woman is throughout this novel. Although I have to admit that at some point it did provided an insight that well, men are sort of trash but the conversations between the blood donor and the state writer even though both were what in modern standards we could define as 'losers' seem to demean womanhood and women even further under the guise of dark comedy, intellect and wisdom. Seriously?
The other book was about Marie Antoinette, although it did shed much light on her maltreatment by the 'Reign of Terror' by the likes of the Girondins and those guys Marat and Robespierre and the animal mob of Paris and Versailles it did not hint the actual suffering of the people compared to the court. Yes, she was a good royal figure, a symbol or emblem of sovereignty but it seemed to make light of the actual suffering going through by regular people. Well her suffering is nothing short of the shit that went throughout France during that time. Yes, she was a scapegoat but for all the good things she has experienced the common french people had absolutely nothing, what she didn't realize is the extreme feelings that went on among the people in their poverty that made them act like they did. It is a bit royalist propaganda in my head for all its majesty. It was not a bad read, it was allright. The court of Versailles and the Royals were all animals it seemed. Spending without a thought and leaving the people extremely destitute and poor. It didn't even mention the horrors of 'seigneuralism'. Although it had made some valid points, revolution at times rarely helped for the good of the people (except in the case of Thailand's great bloodless revolutions) but I wonder if death and destitution is the answer for change? Surely there are better examples? the French Revolution of course, on the other hand should be a must read for everyone and anyone who has half a brain.