Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday morsel: "beautiful things" (from Ann Patchett)

In Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, which is about a group of party-goers taken hostage by terrorists, a Russian man decides to tell a famous opera singer (who happens to be his fellow hostage) that he loves her.  Instead, he finds himself telling her about a beautiful book of paintings that his grandmother had and which shaped his life:

"I could have had one life but instead I had another because of this book my grandmother protected. What a miracle is that? I was taught to love beautiful things. I had a language in which to consider beauty. Later that extended to the opera, to the ballet, to architecture I saw, and even later still I came to realize that what I had seen in the paintings I could see in the fields or a river. I could see it in people. All of that I attribute to this book.”

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