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Against Nature: The Notebooks Hardcover – May 15, 2015
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He is forty-eight, he seems older, his hair is grey at the temples, a grey, close-cropped beard. A wide mouth, thick lips, there are cuts in the lips and scars around the mouth from fights or injuries, his face is coarse and lined. It’s the face that could have been ruined by loneliness or too many pleasures, it isn’t possible to way what there is in his face, but it’s the destruction that gives him his beauty; she thinks he has a ruined and beautiful face. When she looks at him, up-close, as she sits over him and leans forward to kiss him, all she feels is fear. And it must be fear she needs, because she presses her lips to his and pushes her tongue into the open mouth. What does she want? Perhaps simply that he should be her lover. Perhaps she wants to hurl herself into something dangerous, calamitous, that will alter her completely. He’s sitting in the chair at the desk wearing a black suit and white shirt, a black tie loosened at the collar; she’s sitting on his lap, as if they’re both familiar with the image that awaits them in the mirror – death and the young maiden.
Our opening shifts in time and space and style, the lovers become Abélard and Héloïse from 1132, the story shifts to the first person, they become poetry, they are Ovid. The opening section “The Library” introduces us to a forty-eight year old Espedal and his much younger lover, the night they met.
We then shift back in time to “Work, The Factory” where Espedal is a teenager, working in the factory oiling the looms and we hear of his first girlfriend, a younger girl, does this relationship set the scene for all his future life?
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