Fairy tales with a dilemma

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Ninny Rhino – Day 12

... a fairy tale... is a fairy tale... is a fairy tale...

Tuesdays and Thursdays forenoon, I usually spend a couple of hours at something called “Café Welcome”. It´s not a cafeteria per se. People can’t just drop in, buy themselves a cup of coffee, or a latte or something, sit there for a while and then leave.

Instead, it is a gathering place for women from different countries. We talk! We communicate!
We have a good time!

Tuesdays comes a woman from the main city library. She brings a book, she reads something – not anything long. And then we talk about the text and can express thoughts about it. On the whole, it’s supposed to train the women with other native languages to speak in Swedish, and increase their vocabulary as well as the courage to actually open the mouth and say something in Swedish! In a women-friendly surrounding, where everyone can relax and just enjoy the moment. And no one is forced to be here.

It’s just lovely! So much I’ve learned during the time I’ve participated in this! BUT! Nota bene! I don’t teach Swedish, like a schoolteacher! I’m just being there. Talking sometimes. Listening. Learning. Hopefully giving something positive back. Literally – participating!

This woman from the library, on the other hand, is supposed to give positive influences in talking and understanding Swedish. Not only the language per se but also the world around us. Our habits here in Sweden, our culture. And we get so much back about their cultures and habits, and their experiences before moving here and how it is now.

Today this Librarian had brought a book with fairy tales. A bit odd fairy tales. They are very short and ends abruptly in a dilemma. Actually – a really mind blowing problem. Then, we were supposed to discuss this dilemma. Which of the suggested solutions to the problem would be best? Or?

Before I give you a summary of the story, I'll just say we 
had a lovely, energetic, giving discussion afterward...

 

In the story, there is this young, poor man who lives with his mother. She is old, and not well at all. As a matter of fact, the son is taking care of here. Even feed her. That’s how feeble she is.
There is also a King who has a daughter. Well – there is a princess.

One day the princess meets the young man, and they fall in love – and get married.

(As I said, the tale is really short. Here we could have heard a loooooong tale about how they met, all the troubles due to she being a princess and he being a common and poor man. Even though he was also young and beautiful…
In that imaginary story (my imagination, thought about this part later), there was a revolution or something else really nasty occurring, the king was killed, the castle burnt down – and the princess fled from that blond, obese, egotistical and arrogant, small-mouthed conqueror with pig-eyes before he could lay his hands upon her – and he didn’t bother much despite the fact she was young and beautiful. There were lots of other young and beautiful women to chose from… )

In the librarian’s story; when married, the princess began to take care of her mother-in-law. (And where did the husband/son go?) But one day, while the princess was feeding her, the old woman bit the (former) princess in the hand! And kept biting her, wouldn’t let go!

The princess cried and screamed and tried really hard, but couldn’t get free. The people in the town heard her of course and came, wondering what was going on. Also her husband came, and he was thinking really hard on how to solve this problem. Since his mother refused to open her mouth and let go of the hand, he saw only two possible solutions. Either he had to cut off his wife’s hand, or break open his mother’s mouth.

He just couldn’t decide.

The old people in the city urged him to cut off the wife’s hand, and the young ones urged him to break open the mother’s mouth – and he could do neither. They asked a judge in the city for advice, but he was also unable to come to a solution….


Here ended the story, as with a big question mark.
What do you think? You, who just have read this all the way down the blog. Do you have a solution to this dilemma?

We, who sat there around the table with coffee mugs and chocolate toffees in front of us, had a great discussion – and one of the women, one of those lovely, intelligent, well-educated, humorous, gorgeous women, came up with a brilliant solution!!!

I might tell you tomorrow – if you want me to.

The next book

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When you have finished listening to a book on Storytel, you see a couple of buttons on the screen. One, for rating the book – the usual option one to five stars. One, for going back to your bookshelf. And one which says: To book suggestions.

After listening to Eleanor Oliphant, I chose the suggestion-button.

I browsed. Tested something by Steinbeck. Didn’t like the reader. Hemingway? Yeah! Why not? But which one? There aren’t the entire collection of his books, but with books read both in English and in Swedish put together, there are more than enough to choose from.

I chose “The sun also rises“, read in Swedish by Stefan Sauk who is a Swedish actor. (A good reader.) It’s a rather thin book, less than 200 pages, and is read in little less than 8 hours. I set it a bit faster. 6 hours… 😉

When we had History of Literature at school, we had to learn about Ernest Hemingway and the famous “Iceberg theory”. A lot of discussions around that, and is maybe something we should consider more of when we now are writing ourselves?

My writing teacher from 2006 to 2012 always used to say we mustn’t get lost in clutter, then we would lose our reader pretty fast. Less is More! she said.

And so it is!

In school, we were also supposed to read at least one of Hemingway’s works. Have absolutely no idea which I read at that time, if any, but later I have read a couple.

I think my favorite was “Across the river and into the trees” from 1950.

“Hemingway described Across the River and into the Trees and one reader’s reaction to it, using ‘Indian talk’: “Book too much for him. Book start slow, then increase in pace till it becomes impossible to stand. I bring emotion up to where you can’t stand it, then we level off, so we won’t have to provide oxygen tents for the readers. Book is like engine. We have to slack her off gradually.”

And that’s the elephant, isn’t it? The body high, the trunk and tail low…

I also liked “The garden of Eden” which wasn’t published until 1986, posthumously.

“The novel was published posthumously in a much-abridged form in 1986. Hemingway began The Garden of Eden in 1946 and wrote 800 pages, For 15 years, he continued to work on the novel which remained uncompleted. When published in 1986, the novel had 30 chapters and 70,000 words. The publisher’s note explains that cuts were made to the novel, and according to biographers, Hemingway had achieved 48 chapters and 200,000 words. Scribner’s removed as much as two-thirds of the extant manuscript and one long subplot.” (Wikipedia)

 

This one, The sun also rises, was published in 1926 and takes place in France and Spain. A travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.

I don’t know whether I liked it or not. The main figure is the narrator and describes from day to day what he is doing, what people he meets, interact with, what he sees and think and experiences. All in Hemingway’s clean-cut way.

Is it boring? Yeahhh…. and no! I got hooked! Despite the endless fiestas, the wine drinking, getting plastered, the eating, the bars, the fishing, the woman the story also moves around, the desire, the jealousy…

And of course a lot about the bull running and the bullfights.

So they eat, drink, quarrel a bit, have friends – and attend a fiesta with bulls… boooooring!

And still! So amazingly, yet sparsely, written! You are there! You feel the heat from the summer sun on your bare shoulders. You taste the cold, a bit tart wine on your tongue, and you sense the pulse around the characters.

Without much doubt, I think all of you have at least heard of the Old man and the sea” published in 1952. And/or watched the movie from 1958 with Spencer Tracy as the old man.

No wonder Hemingway has become a “classic”, a “must-read” author. And I’m inclined to read or listen to more written by him.

I can only say one thing after this –

SO MANY BOOKS; SO LITTLE TIME!

Time to read – or rather – time to listen.

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“Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” by Gail Honeyman

I haven’t been listening to a book for some time now, men since I’ve seen this one “everywhere”, I looked for it at “Storytel”.

It was available there, and I choose to listen to it in its original fashion. In English – with Scottish and all. And that was a hit! The best choice!

(The women who read the Swedish version sounded so utterly boring and harsh. And I don’t think she even tried to sound “Scottish”.)

I got hooked! Immediately!

Beforehand, I had thought it might be one of those easy-to-read, more or less shallow books with some laughs, some tears, and some romantic. Like those romantic Christmas movies provided by Hallmarks. 😦

Oh, GOD! This was so much more. So. Much. More!!!

So beautifully and extremely well written – which I love.
Written in the first person – which I also love.
The story built up so tenderly, so real, so… you see the persons and the sceneries before you as if you were there, with them. Experiencing what they experience. Hear, see, smell, taste – feel…

Oh! That Mommy!

I cried immensely! And laughed. And felt a lot inside me.

Couldn’t let go of the iPhone and the earplugs, so during two days – for in total 11 hours 36 minutes – I was literally hooked to this book.

I think I want to buy it as a physical book! (Which means like 5 stars, from me.)

 

 

“No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.” – Goodreads

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

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