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Dani Shapiro

Inheritance

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    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    I thought of John Keats’s negative capability, “when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” In this direction lay freedom, and, paradoxically, self-knowledge. By my being willing not to know thoroughly who I am and where I come from, the rigid structures surrounding my identity might begin to give way, leaving behind a sense of openness and possibility
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    Another trenchant line from the psychoanalyst Bollas: “We learn the grammar of our being before we grasp the rules of our language.” He’s speaking of infancy, of course, and the underpinnings of our psyches
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    A psychoanalytic phrase—“unthought known”—became my instrument of illumination as I poked and prodded at my history with my parents. The psychoanalyst who coined it, Christopher Bollas, writes: “There is in each of us a fundamental split between what we think we know and what we know but may never be able to think.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    His desire to set a new beginning to the chain of events to which he belonged encountered the same difficulty that it always does: the fact that everybody has a father, that nothing comes first and of itself, its own cause, but that everybody is begotten and points backwards, deeper down into the depths of beginnings, the bottoms and abysses of the well of the past
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    The week prior, on Rosh Hashanah, he had sent me a note wishing us L’shana tova tikateivu. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year. He must have looked it up. He was reaching out a hand, respecting our differences while understanding the enormity of our bond
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    Later, it will occur to me that Ben Walden felt, to me, like my native country. I had never lived in this country. I had never spoken its language or become steeped in its customs. I had no passport or record of citizenship. Still, I had been shaped by my country of origin all my life, suffused with an inchoate longing to know my own land
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    It was bewildering to look at him—to see my features reflected back at me. All those staring contests I’d held with myself as a child were about this, I now understood. I had been searching and searching for the truth in the mirror, trying to make sense of my own face. Here it was, finally, irrefutably, in the form of the old man standing before me
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    It is the nature of trauma that, when left untreated, it deepens over time.
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    What if Ben really was resolved to keep the door between us slammed closed? I was an unpleasant aftereffect of an action so inconsequential to him that it didn’t even bear recalling
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    Sweetheart, this opens up a world of inclusiveness—and in the end, you have to include yourself. You aren’t bleeding color. You’re holding the light ones and the dark ones. They’re all yours. Ultimately, in all of this, Dani—the postscript is that it’s really called love.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    And the result in which you can exult is that the very best was combined in you: grace, brains, creativity, beauty. Whatever alien, mechanical, outside element was in the story—it was a story of success. You have such a rich endowment. You have been so recompensed. You carry the heightened sensitivity, to be sure. You carry the pain and you also carry the reward
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    “It’s rare that you get an opportunity in life to stand outside yourself. It’s as if Hakadosh baruch hu is saying, Child, come sit next to me and now, look. Finding all this out is a door to discovering what a father really is. It isn’t closure—you may not get to have that—but it’s an opening to a whole new vista.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    I have to tell you—in every way, and I’m not saying it to make you feel good, and I’m taking a chance saying it because you’ll think I’m making it up—but between you and Paul there was paternity, ownership, kinship
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    Knowing what you know, you’re more of a daughter to Paul than you can possibly imagine. You take something that isn’t your own and you breathe life into it. You create it—and it becomes your creation. You are an agent to help my brother express the finest kind of love.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    That younger man on the train to Philadelphia had become a middle-aged man crushed by an accumulation of secrets, losses, and the unsaid. My father was already gone
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    The people who are with us by either happenstance or design during life-altering events become woven into the fabric of those events. The man who sat next to me on my flight home when my parents were in their car accident; the doctor who diagnosed our baby boy with a rare and frightening disease. I, too, have been that person in the lives of friends and strangers
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    Bessel van der Kolk: “The nature of trauma is that you have no recollection of it as a story.”
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citael mes pasado
    The dead can’t fight back. The dead have no voice. They can’t say: But that isn’t how it was. You’re getting it wrong. They can’t say: But I loved you so. They can’t say: I had no idea
    Anabel M Ortegacompartió una citahace 2 meses
    The two prior times in my life I had experienced shock and terror—my parents’ accident and Jacob’s illness—it seemed an impossible affront that people were going about their daily business and that in fact no one’s life had changed but mine and those of people I loved
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