A Convergence of Birds
Edited by Jonathan Safran Foer
Today, I finished “A Convergence of Birds”, book #4 on my book list. I’m not going to lie about the fact that I did skip a few pieces (mostly poems) because I’m not really the poetic type. Some of the stories as well were kind of hard to digest and I tried real hard to get through each and every one of them. It can’t be helped, however, to just simply not be able to comprehend one or two stories if you’re a dimwit like me.
Out of all the ones I did read, my favorites are Barry Lopez’s “Emory Bear Hands’ Birds”, Robert Coover’s “The Grand Hotels” and Jonathan Safran Foer’s “If The Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe”. I don’t have any favorite poems because like I said, I’m really not much of poetry reader.
The three stories I mentioned really touched me in different, unusual ways. Especially the last one. I’ve never felt so profoundly sad and sympathetic after reading a short story. Somehow, I felt the pain that the magician was going through. It was as if I could see the sadness in his eyes. I felt sympathy for everything he lost – love, time, control. Does every aging man go through a phase like this – doubting his whole life’s purpose or, even worse, considering his impending death as some sort of salvation? It’s sad that a man of his age could feel so lonely and so unfulfilled. He weeps after every show. Somehow, I couldn’t get this off my mind. The image of an aging magician, alone in the world, who can’t even afford to get his tuxedo fixed let alone buy a new one.. If I were in the right frame of mind, I would have cried reading this. I’ve always had a soft spot for old people and this story nearly killed me.
“The Grand Hotels”, on the other hand, was really beautifully strange. Out of all the hotels he mentioned, I liked “The Grand Hotel Penny Arcade”. I guess, it’s because it’s the one I could picture the most in my head. Don’t get me wrong, all of them were so beautifully describe that you could just imagine every detail, even the strangest ones. On the other hand, “The Grand Hotel Nymphlight” is probably the one I wouldn’t visit.
I’d like to say more about all these wonderful stories, but it just isn’t any good when someone else is describing it to you and telling you which stories they hold most dear to them. I might have said too much about “If The Aging Magician Should Begin to Believe”, but I really couldn’t help it.
Of course, these stories would not have been possible if it weren’t for the wonderful and unique bird boxes of Joseph Cornell. His life is just as interesting and intriguing as his works of art and all these stories that they inspired.
I really feel a bit tongue-tied after just finishing this book a few minutes ago. I just had to write about it immediately, but I realized it’s not that good of an idea. I’m still pretty overwhelmed and quite affected.
*jumps up and down*