Friday, 11 April 2008

Ariel – Sylvia Plath

I’m reading Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. I’ve read it before but I’m kind of coming at it with a lighter mind this time; less expectation, or something. And I’m finding more to like in it

My copy is a beautiful, slim, slate grey Faber edition, with Ariel written in red. A perfectly gorgeous handbag-sized book. I brought it to the swimming pool today while my son was swimming. The other mothers fell away as I fell into Sylvia’s world, where she is ‘cow-heavy’ after giving birth, and her thoughts fly many times over death and her wish to be ‘utterly empty’.

It’s a book that makes me think about lots of things: young mothers and writing; writers who are married to each other; Sylvia herself; Ted and their children; depression and suicide.

I watched the film 'Sylvia' recently; I wouldn’t recommend it, it's very down-beat. Both she and he come off badly, though Gwyneth Paltrow was good in the role. There was no spark between the actors; no lingering on the couple’s early love; it was straight into paranoia and meanness. I think that was an ill-judged move by the film makers. They were two people after all, gifted and in love. So it went wrong. Some people recover from hardships, some don’t.

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