When you have 8,409 books on your TBR list, the smallest detail can boost a handful of them to the top of the stack. Which feels tremendously specific. And terrifically random.
So when Karen and Simon chose 1965 as their next reading year inspiration, a few books presented themselves (see photo in last week’s post about my main read for the event, Marie-Claire Blais’ third novel) and three more wormed their way into my stacks.
First, Muriel Rukeyser’s The Orgy (1965). This landed on my shelves because I had recently read a copy of the author’s collected poems. Not in the way in which I usually read volumes of collected works, leafing and sampling, but in a surprisingly studious way.
While I had planned to pick and choose from her poems, to browse and be done with the volume in a week’s time, I began at the beginning and I read straight through. Even when I did not understand what I was reading, something pulled me onwards.
The Orgy has the same quiet and steady power of seduction. And not in the way in which one might expect from a volume with such a provocative title. But simply drawing readers into the story through the deliberately melodious prose.
“The white horse racing across the long field away from the train, the couples taking in the hay, the green stations; the grief-stricken children with their father leaving; suffering of poverty, ragged along the roads, standing at exposed train-crossings, their wrists thrust out, their big hands red; his rifle down to help his 86-year-old mother, whose turkeys the fox was getting; the girl trained in Dublin as a stenographer, with no typewriters in Ireland; the glimpse of Killorglin, where the goat would be crowned; and if this, whatever it was, emerged from these bodies, this suffering known and unknown to me, a day like this reaching into this landscape.