The Feast of Love: otherwise known as what should have probably been my first blog post ever

Every relationship has at least one really good day. What I mean is, no matter how sour things go, there's always that day. That day is always in your possession. That's the day you remember. You get old and you think: well, at least I had that day. It happened once. You think all the variables might just line up again. But they don't. Not always. I once talked to a woman who said "Yeah, that's the day we had an angel around."
-page 17

I have a hard time imagining who I was before I read The Feast of Love for the first time. Does that sound dramatic? I hope so. Reading that book during a family vacation to Block Island back in 2000 was a kind of life-altering experience that I can only associate with religion. Charles Baxter converted me with his words that summer, completely made me a believer- not only in love, but in fiction's power to explore and inspire.

I discovered FOL at a time when I was feeling pretty fragile. My heart had been recently broken - BADLY - and I was pretty confused as to what kind of emotion steamrolls over your identity, your confidence, and your heart in one thundering move. The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want to be anywhere close to that happening again. I bought copy after copy of the book, giving it to friends, obliging boyfriends to read it. When one such boyfriend told me that he hated Diana's character, I knew we couldn't last. Any complex woman must admit to being part Diana - and anyone who says otherwise is lying. If he couldn't understand what made her tick, he wasn't going to get me.

I started writing to Charlie Baxter, FOL's author, not long after I read the book. He is incredibly gracious and has written back to me every time I send something his way. Last year I wrote to him to suggest that he read Andre Gide's Les Faux-Monnayeurs because the structure reminded me of his work. Imagine my glee when the author of my favorite book responded with:

"Oh yes, I read LFM (The Counterfeiters in English) many years ago, and although I had one or two reservations about it, I felt, all in all, that it was a masterpiece, and in any case it became part of my mental background, my spiritual furniture, as did Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (its title in English)."

Spiritual furniture! What a guy!

So now this film is coming out on Friday and the girls and I are going to see it. I'm a little nervous to see what has been such an important book translated into another art form, but I'm trying to let go and see it for what it is. If you have read the book, let us know what you think about the film in the comments' section (what are YOU apprehensive about?). If you haven't read the book, well, there's only one thing to say. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Jennifer Noelle said...

:/ The book is much better.

My friend who hadn't read the book said, sarcastically, "I like how there's no plot in this movie" and I can sorta see why he would get that. It's like they had to decide between plot and nudity and the nudity won.