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I Choose the correct answer. Circle the right letter.

TEXT 21 LEVIATHAN

by Paul Auster

Paul Auster (b. 1947) – an American author known for works blending crime fiction and the search for identity.

(This 1992 novel may be called a physiological narrative with action. In it the writer Peter Aaron tells the story of a Ben Sachs who, in his quest for identity, ‘has traveled from one end of himself to another’.)

 

One evening, while we were sitting in the living room with David, Delia asked me to fetch her glasses from a shelf in her upstairs study, and when I entered the room I saw her journal lying open on the desk. Delia had been keeping a journal since the age of thirteen or fourteen, and by now it ran to dozen of volumes, notebook after notebook filled with the ongoing saga of her inner life. She had often read passages from it to me, but until that evening I had never so much as dared to look at it without her permission. Standing there at that moment, however, I found myself gripped by a tremendous urge to read those pages. In (10) retrospect, I understand that this meant our life together was already finished, that my willingness to break this trust proved that I had given up any hope for our marriage, but I wasn’t aware of it then.

At the time, the only thing I felt was curiosity. The pages were open on the desk, and Delia had just asked me to go into the room for her. She must have understood that I would notice them. Assuming that was true, it was almost as if she were inviting me to read what she had written. In all events, that was the excuse I gave myself that night, and even now I’m not sure I was wrong. It would have been just like her to act indirectly, to provoke a crisis she would never have to claim

(20) responsibility for. That was her special talent: taking matters into her own hands, even as she convinced herself that her hands were clean.

So I looked down at the open journal, and once I crossed that threshold, I wasn’t able to turn back. I saw that I was the subject of that day’s entry, and what I found there was an exhaustive catalogue of

 

complaints and grievances, a grim little document set forth in the language of a laboratory report. Delia had covered everything, from the way I dressed to the foods I ate, to my incorrigible lack of human understanding. I was morbid and self-centered, frivolous and

(30) domineering, vengeful and lazy and distracted. Even if every one of those things had been true, her portrait of me was so ungenerous, so mean-spirited in its tone, that I couldn’t even bring myself to feel angry. I felt sad, hollowed out, dazed. By the time I reached the last paragraph, her conclusion was already self-evident, a thing that no longer needed to be expressed. “I have never loved Peter,” she wrote. “It was a mistake to think I ever could. Our life together is a fraud, and the longer we go on like this, the closer we come to destroying each other. We never should have gotten married. I let Peter talk me into it, and I’ve been paying for it ever since. I didn’t love him then, and I don’t (40) love him now. No matter how long I stay with Peter, I will never love him.”



It was all so abrupt, so final, that I almost felt relieved. To understand that you are despised in this way eliminates any excuse for self-pity. I couldn’t doubt where thing stood any more, and however shaken I might have been in those moments, I knew that I had brought this disaster down on myself. I had thrown away eleven years of my life in search of afigment. My whole youth had been sacrificed to a delusion, and yet rather than crumple up and mourn what I had just lost, I felt strangely invigorated, set free by the bluntness and brutality of Delia’s (50) words. All this strikes me as inexplicable now. But the fact was that I didn’t hesitate. I went downstairs with Delia’s glasses, told her that I had read her journal, and the next morning I moved out.

 

 

NOTES

LEVIATHAN – the title is borrowed from the Biblical sea monster

 

a figment– something invented or imagined

 

EXERCISES

I Choose the correct answer. Circle the right letter.

1 The narrator is … .

a) Peter Aaron c) David

b) Paul Auster d) Delia

2 The passage is about a man who discovers his wife … .

a) has a secret life

b) doesn’t love him

c) has just left him

d) has decided to keep a journal

3 And who decides … .

a) to split up

b) to talk to her

c) to forgive her

d) to pretend nothing has happened


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 894


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