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The Blind Assassin - absolutely amazing.
Anyway, I'm back, obviously, though not so thrilled to be back. Not that I loved Indonesia; I simply love the idea of being away. I guess the upside was that there wasn't any shit weather to "come back" to, as I was suffering under the viscous Indonesian humidity anyway.
I'm not much in the mood for writing (haven't been in the mood for it for awhile now) so I'll just say the following:
1. I finished Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin in Indonesia and I'm still emotionally affected by the novel. It's been a while since a novel had been this emotionally jarring. The love story - not only was it beautifully, and I really mean beautifully written, it was so tragic and devastating. I love the way she describes the feelings between the two characters, especially from the female character's point of view. It's so haunting, so precious, and the doomed nature of it only breaks my heart.
Her attention to detail is quite astounding. The novel is 521 pages long but doesn't feel like it. It's set in Canada between the two world wars, a location I don't give a shit about and a time period I'm not particularly interested in, but these things didn't even matter because the story was so vividly told. I felt like I was there, witnessing the events, and I could picture the words and what they're meant to depict in my head.
I didn't know it won the 2000 Booker when I bought it years ago, and the reason I bought it was because it was damn cheap (8 bucks for first edition hard cover). I didn't know either that it won the Booker when I started reading it - I was merely itching to read some good fiction, and Atwood, though her prose tends to get tedious sometimes, definitely writes well. I definitely didn't expect anything when I started reading it, so when I found myself hooked on the story I was more than surprised. When I found myself actually emotionally invested in the characters...well, it's certainly been a while since a book enthralled me this much, and it's entirely my fault that I haven't been reading and have thus forgotten the magic of the written word. Especially when the prose is so delicately-constructed and beautifully-produced.
I just - it's been a few days since I finished it and I still can't get it out of my mind. I'm even re-reading some parts now. I mean, I'm definitely a snob when it comes to books - I choose my books by how well-written they are and plot is always secondary. The Blind Assassin manages to combine both. And its greatest strength lies in how it sticks with me, gets itself stuck in my head, and refuses to let go of my heart.
2. Fucking French Open. The night Roger played his quarter-final against Soderling, I couldn't fucking sleep until someone told me what was going on. I had to text my idiot brother who couldn't even be clear in his reply as to what was happening. But I did find out that he bagged the first set, after which I went to sleep with relative ease.
Woke up the next morning to Yun's text that "fed" had crashed out of the French Open. Fucking put me in a damn bad mood for an hour or so in the morning. Thankfully I was overseas and had attractions to take my mind off things and my mood improved.
But can't say I wasn't really bummed - sad, actually - that he couldn't extend his streak of 25 consecutive grand slam semi-finals. Can't say, too, that I wasn't sad that he wasn't going to contest a grand slam semi-final for the first time in 5, 6 years.
On the other hand, though, it's amazing already that his record even exists. Number 2 on the list of consecutive grand slam semi-finals stands at 10 straight SFs. Roger managed 25. It was bound to come to an end at some point, and I did say that I wasn't hopeful about his chances of winning the French again. To be fair, no way in hell I even thought that he might lose before the semi; no way in hell did I think he'd lose to Soderling, whom he'd beaten 12 straight times.
But he's had a crap post-Australia season. He's had a not-so-great clay season, and him reaching the Madrid final was a miracle. He's still not in form; he might have lost against Wawrinka if Wawrinka had volleyed better in the tie-break.
Above all else, the French Open has never been good to him. If his streak had to end somewhere, I'm glad it was at the French. It's also my least favourite Slam anyway as it's contested on my least favourite surface (slow-ass boring clay with annoying long rallies), so if the streak had to end, it might as well have been at Roland Garros.
As for the final, I'm fully behind the Sod to win it against Nadal. It's not going to be easy, but it's been done before; more importantly, if Nadal wins, Roger becomes #2 - and he's 1 week shy of breaking Sampras' record of having the most number of weeks at #1. He's in his 286th week now, which is the record. If Nadal loses tonight, Roger will be #1 for the 287th week, thus setting a new record.
ROBIN SODERLING, ALL OF FEDERER'S FANS ARE BEHIND YOU. YOU BETTER WIN THIS. IF YOU HAD THE AUDACITY TO BREAK ROGER'S SEMI-FINAL STREAK, YOU BETTER HAVE THE BALLS TO WRESTLE THE TROPHY FROM NADAL'S GREEDY TEETH.