I don’t get satire, apparently

The back cover of A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks has a couple of comments that call it hilarious and satirical. I don’t think I smiled once while reading it, so I guess I didn’t get it.

What I did get (at least I think I did) was the commentary on the state of society today. It made me feel sad, because I don’t think the stories of the people in the book are entirely fictitious. Their loneliness, their pain, their sadness all exist in the world we share.

I was especially affected by the selfishness and greed of John, who works in finance, managing a hedge fund. John did not care about anything but money. He chose his wife because he didn’t think she would require much attention, he didn’t have time to listen to a phone call about his son being in hospital, he happily, almost proudly, made decisions that would make thousands of people unemployed or hungry. I know that such people must exist, many run business and corporations, but I often wonder how they can look at themselves in the mirror. To me, doing something that hurts my child or husband is enough to cause insomnia, I can’t even fathom what being responsible for the misery or misfortune of thousands would feel like. But I guess those people don’t think in the same way as me and don’t hold the same values. I am grateful that I am incapable of understanding them.

Just like John lives in his money-making world, the other characters too live in their little bubbles, often struggling to make meaningful contact. In one passage, a single house contains a teenager smoking joint after joint in his room and his mother drinking glass after glass of wine in hers. Both are lonely beyond words and both try to lose themselves in drugs, alcohol and mindless television. Why can’t they connect?

Why can’t another character, Jenni, connect to anyone outside her virtual reality game? Although in her case salvation arrives unexpectedly and she is able to beat her isolation.

Even Hassan, who we see slowly sink deeper and deeper into his religion, until he doesn’t see sense in anything else anymore, complains about how compartmentalized we’ve become, each listening to our own personal devices instead of each other.

The world painted in this book is bleak indeed. I wonder if that’s why Sebastian Faulks set it in December, to add to the grey coloring and to underline how cold his characters are. Although, as I write about it now, setting it just before Christmas makes another strong statement, since the spirit of the holidays is nowhere to be seen.

This was my first book by Sebastian Faulks and I loved the way he used words to build his world. The writing was punchy and engaging. The interesting structure of interweaving the stories of seven characters’ lives over seven days also deserves a mention.

But what I appreciated most is the idea behind the writing, the thought to show us a mirror of the world we live in. Because only when we see it up close and seemingly from the outside can we begin to see it clearly. And hopefully decide to change it.


Personal growth vs. my need for an iPad

It’s a struggle, oh yes.

Just the other day I was explaining to my parents that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our consumer society and about how so many of us don’t actually need anything anymore, except for maybe food. Unless you’re me and you’re a hoarder, in which case you could survive without food shopping, even.

I said that I question every purchase now, to see if I actually need it. (This doesn’t apply to books of course, since everyone knows that books feed the soul and you can’t get by without.)

I said that I can’t believe how far companies will go to get more money out of us, that they bring out these upgraded products so that we feel we have to buy new ones every couple of years.

I said I longed for a simpler time.

And today I went out and bought myself the latest iPad.

Now, I’ve been yearning (yes, yearning) for an iPad since they first came out what feels like a hundred years ago. But they’re so expensive and I don’t really, need one, so…

I had to admit that I don’t need an iPad, but I want one desperately and that’s sometimes ok too. Why do I want one? Because my iPhone is smaller, because they’re so pretty, just because. I want one for no good reason and I used my birthday and Christmas money (from next December) to get one.

It’s probably all kinds of wrong on the personal growth side, but I’m so happy! It’s so beautiful! That kind of beauty can’t be bad, can it?

Now, if there’s an app you can’t live without, tell me about it, please.


My new home

Welcome to my new virtual home!

(If you didn’t arrive here via my previous blog then go there now to read about the journey that led me here)

I called this blog ‘Create your World’ because I believe that that’s what we’re all doing. By dedicating our time and our energy to certain activities and pastimes, we each create the world we live in. I also believe in positive thinking and that like-attracts-like, meaning that the more positive things I devote my attention to, the more positive things will come my way.

There are all kinds of subjects that I’d like to explore here, including what it means to be a woman in today’s world, what kind of place we want the world to be, how we as individuals can contribute to that vision, how we can reach our full potential.  But there are other, smaller, parts of my life that I also want to  share – thoughts about the books I read, delicious recipes, anecdotes from daily life. Anything I come across that is inspiring or beautiful or amazing. Anything that matters to me.

‘Create your World’ will be a place for all this and more. I hope it will help both me and you to find inspiration, something that will push us further towards becoming the people we want to become.

I chose to just start writing rather than wait until I finish the layout and structure, so please bear with me as I build this blog, it’ll be a work-in-progress for a while yet!