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Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: First Page Mondays

I happened to read about this book in a newspaper column. The article was so interesting that I immediately checked online to see if I could find a copy - sure I could - though it was quite expensive, at INR 640 for 234 pages of paperback! But since I knew what the book was about, I just couldn't let it go. And so, as a birthday present last month, hubby got it for me :-) Super happy! I finished reading it in a day......it's an un-putdownable one and if you haven't read it yet, you've missed out on a masterpiece!

Here's what the first page reads like....

'It was a queer and sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the papers - goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.

 I thought it might be the worst thing in the world.


 New York was bad enough. By nine in the morning the fake, country-wet freshness that somehow seeped in overnight evaporated like the tail end of a sweet dream. Mirage-grey at the bottom of their granite canyons, the hot streets wavered in the sun, the car tops sizzled and glittered, and the dry, cindery dust blew into my eyes and down my throat.

 I kept hearing about the Rosenbergs over the radio and at the office till I couldn't get them out of my mind. It was like that first time I saw a cadaver. For weeks afterwards, the cadaver's head - or what there was left of it - floated up behind my eggs and bacon at breakfast and behind the face of Buddy Willard, who was responsible for my seeing it in the first place, and pretty soon I felt as though I were carrying that cadaver's head......'

- Debolina Raja Gupta