What I’m Reading: A Room with a View

It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano. She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave. The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world; it will accept those whom breeding and intellect and culture have alike rejected. The commonplace person begins to play, and shoots into the empyrean without effort, whilst we look up, marvelling how he has escaped us, and thinking how we could worship him and love him, would he but translate his visions into human words, and his experiences into human actions.

Perhaps he cannot; certainly he does not, or does so very seldom…

Love this. I want to shoot into the empyrean without effort. The image reminds me of a trapeze artist, gracefully and incomprehensibly flying above our heads. (If you haven’t read Nights at the Circus,  you should. It’s lots of fun. Speaking of trapeze artists, which we weren’t.) Such a picture of escape, of freedom. Sadly, I have much to much to do to even think about trying to escape. The walls are much too thick.  (C’mon fellow nerds, what movie?) 

I began A Room with a View on the way to school yesterday. After absolutely loving Howards End, which I read earlier this year, I’m ready for some more Forster. He’s a bit of a revelation for me–a new favorite.  I seem to have had this book confused with Daisy Miller (understandably, I believe–so far they seem quite similar) but thus far I like Lucy much more than Daisy. Daisy always reminds me a bit too much of Lydia Bennett–annoying and silly and self-centered and vain. Obviously, I really disliked both.

Lucy, so far*, seems much less silly– Forster makes a point of showing both her instinctive reactions to things (correct, genuine) and then her recollection of how she “should be” reacting to something, after which she turns all terribly proper and stilted. You can see a bit of that in the above quote–she is able to somehow get loose of social restraint when she plays the piano, to “shoot into the empyrean.” Of course, she is going to either have to quash that impulse toward freedom or be crushed by it. (She might be headed for an ocean dip with the rather sodden Ms. Pontellier.)

I’m feeling somewhat less than positive about Lucy’s chances of happiness… were she to begin “living like she plays,” she would scandalize society. I have no idea what happens next… but I’m rooting for her!

I love finally starting new/old books. Makes me happy.

(*I just finished Part I. Lucy and her horrible cousin/companion are leaving the Pension Bertolini for Rome.)

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