I am sure you will enjoy this.
The copy of ‘Memoirs’ by Pablo Neruda, which I possess has been passed on to me from my cousin brother. He also did not buy this copy as it was passed on to him, probably borrowed to him from a friend, possibly called ‘Baptu’ with love.
Baptu was gifted this book by his mother and the brief hand-written note in the beginning of this book is by Baptu’s mother. This one line note is filled with warmth which when I first read it, I thought (as a stranger to the mother-son), I must not intervene between this bond by reading or sharing it. But I could not let go of it and it keeps coming back to me with its blue ink and small fonts written carefully below the author’s bio on the first page of the book. I imagined how the duo would look like and the day when Baptu would have received this book. When this book changes hands again, I am sure in addition to the brilliant narrative of the life of Pablo Neruda, one would also touch upon this short yet beautiful feeling.
So begins this amazing journey through Memoirs of Pablo Neruda, a poet of Latin American descent who went on to win the Nobel Prize for Poetry in 1971.
From the very first chapter of my English translation version, the mysticism of his craft starts unraveling itself and the reader finds itself immersed deep in the poetic verses of his memories. He starts with a note saying,
In these memoirs or recollections there are gaps here and there, and sometimes they are also forgetful, because life is like that… What the memoir writer remembers is not the same thing the poet remembers… The poet gives us a gallery full of ghosts shaken by the fire and darkness of his time.
Perhaps I didn’t live just in my self, perhaps I lived the lives of others… My life is a life put together from all those lives: the lives of the poet.
With a bundle of memories, collected from the very first page, I may also get to live the various lives of the poet through his written words. His journey takes the reader through different countries and the events of the early twentieth century, seen from the eyes of a poet, along with the innocent first memories of childhood and adolescence.
The beginning is mesmerizing and I imagine being captivated by the poetic craft in which Neruda writes his life building years along the verses of ‘The Chilean Forest’ so that I can also feel what he might have felt when he wrote,
Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet.
I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.
Picture Courtesy: Ahranya© (The cover of ‘Memoirs’, Pablo Neruda. Published by Penguin Books)