August 3, 2008

The goodness went from life

Last week, I picked up Are you somebody - The accidental memoir of a Dublin woman by Nuala O'Faloain: a very unlikely book for me to pick up as firstly I do not like reading memoirs and secondly, if the sex of the reviewers at is anything to go by, this is a book that women would enjoy reading much more than men, since it is a bit feminist, (if that's the right word for someone who believes in choices for woman, then I'm a feminist too!) - she talks a lot about what choices were available to women in the Ireland of 1950s and 1960s - very few! [Listen to her on NPR in an interview from 2001, when she published her first novel: My dream of you. ]

Anyways, to my surprise, though unimpressed by the language, I have lasted through almost 40% of the book - jumping through some chapters which were very tedious to read and even excusing the self-pity she indulges in from time to time, with the consideration that this is something I am good at too!

As is my wont, I always try to find out more about the books and authors I read and so I did a google-search for Ms.
Faolain and this is what I find:

Nuala O'Faolain died of lung cancer at age 68 in May this year.

What a coincidence that I first hear of this author only a few months after her death. The title comes from something she said in an interview a month before her death: "I don’t want more time. As soon as I heard I was going to die, the goodness went from life". Also, more self-pity:
Shortly before her death, Ms. O’Faolain gave a spirited, tearful interview on Ireland’s most popular radio program in which she reflected on life, love and her impending death. “I thought there would be me and the world, but the world turned its back on me,” she said. “The world said to me, ‘That’s enough of you now, and what’s more, we’re not going to give you any little treats at the end.’ ”
I can understand feeling cheated for one's life ending at age 68. I am sure my dad felt the same; not expecting to die at age 66. Not that it makes it any easier to handle but the fact remains that many men die in their late 30s and 40s due to sudden unexpected heart attacks or women in their 50s due to cancer. Many live well into their 80s and 90s, living full and sometimes not-so-full lives too. Whatever be the age, I think that some day I also might leave this world whining and wallowing in self-pity like that. Until then, I better figure out how to spend my life fully. Easier said than done!

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