Saturday, February 28, 2015

the last book I ever read (Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman, excerpt two)

from 2014 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine:

I stand up carefully, lean and twist to stretch my back. The lower back pain isn’t necessarily age related—I’ve lived with mild back pain for years. What has changed is the complexity of the knots: in my younger years the back muscles felt like a simple bowline knot, whereas this morning they feel more like a couple of angler’s loops and a sheepshank. I’m able to name a few knots used by sailors, but I have never been on a boat. Joseph Conrad’s novels planted the seeds of love for sea stories. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News led me to read The Ashley Book of Knots.

I am a reader. Yes, I am that, a reader with nagging back pain.

When my bones ache or my back rebels, I consider the hurt punishment for the years of alienating my body, even dismissing it with some disdain. I deplored my physicality when I was younger, and now it deplores me right back. As I age, my body demands its rightful place in the scheme of my attentions. It stakes its claims.

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