Page 6 - BocaViewPoint - January '22
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Page 6, Viewpointe                                                  January 2022
      Book Review

                                                                                                           meetings, she also plays a role in her boss’s relations with the
      Both/And, A Life in Many                                                                             Arab world, whether in Cairo, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or other
                                                                                                           Arab capitals.
      Beautiful Worlds                                                                                        In the course of the evolution of a relationship, whether
                                                                                                           marriage of living together, the partners will make discoveries
      Sally Rooney. Beautiful World, Where are You. New York:                                              about each other. Alice and Huma explore the truths behind
      Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021.                                                                     their romantic attachments, and their disappointment and fury
      Huma Abedin. Both/And A Life in Many Worlds. New York:                                               over the subject to which their men show propensity. Felix
      Scribner, 2021.                                                                                      shows little interest in Alice’s writing. He also reveals events
      “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on                                             in his past of which he is ashamed, such as working in a strip
      earth, and all ye need to know.” John Keats Ode on a                                                 club and having sex with an underage girl. He is arrogant and
      Grecian Urn                                                                                          rude, tells her that she is a aloof, that she is a “lunatic.” They
      “What is it in men that women most require?                                                          make love on the fourth night of their visit to Rome, and it is
      The lineaments of Gratified Desire.                                                                  clear that Alice has fallen for Felix. By happenstance, while
      What is it women do in men require?                                                                  Felix is repairing the shower cap in the hotel, Alice has access
      The lineaments of Gratified Desire.” William Blake The   fact that her father was a laborer (mechanic), she seemingly   to his cell phone and sees things that bother her.
      Question Answered                                  finds herself in love with her proletariat boyfriend. He      Congressman Anthony Wiener first met Huma in August
      “What is this thing called love?” Ella Fitzgerald  works at a Warehouse Fulfillment center moving packages,   2000, but their relationship took a decade to evolve. Wiener
                                                         and he is a hedonist and non-believer. The other principal   was a very eligible man, but of the Jewish faith. And she was
      By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                            characters are Eileen, Alice’s college roommate who works   brought up as a sincere adherent to her own Muslim beliefs.
                                                         as a magazine editor, and Simon, who works as a political   She describes a model courtship where Anthony is considerate,
         Alice  Kelleher,  the                           organizer, both well educated and suited to each other; and   patient, and extremely devoted. He picks her up at airports
      heroine of Beautiful World,                        Eileen ponders her regret over not having hitched with him,   when she returns from her travels, lends a sympathetic ear to
      is irked by her readers’                           her adolescent first love.                        her concerns, carries on in important conversations about world
      assuming her identification                           Though some might object to my linking a novel with a   affairs. In the end, Ms. Abedin falls head over heels for him,
      with her creator, the author                       memoir, there is a school of literary criticism that is open to   overcomes her scruples, and agrees to the marriage, presided
      Sally Rooney. The general                          considering a mixture of the genres of fiction and non-fiction   by former President Bill Clinton, though the irony of bad boys
      reader sees no enigma in                           based on complementary themes. Ms. Abedin, in her much   in cahoots will emerge later.
      the plot of an Irish woman                         longer work, presents a fascinating account of her family’s      Should an educated, successful woman accept a relationship
      novelist  in  her  twenties,                       odyssey,  Muslim  parents  who  derived  from  India  and   with a man of poor manners and morals like Felix? In contrast,
      writing  of  her  successful                       Pakistan, and met as doctoral candidates at the University   should a pious Muslim who has been brought to believe in
      career, her travels, her illness, her despair, her friends, and her   of Pennsylvania. They married and moved to Kalamazoo   arranged marriages accept someone of the Jewish faith? Ms.
      lover. For Rooney, it is a matter of discretion that the reader   Michigan where Huma was born; and thence their life’s journey   Rooney holds up the question of whether opposites attract, and
      stick to the story and not read it as autobiography. The novel   alternating between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Huma   more importantly can they stay together? In her novel Beautiful
      opens with the first encounter between Alice and Felix Brady,   chose to pursue a career of public service like her father, who   World, she romantically suggests that perhaps they can.
      who have connected on a dating site, at a Hotel Bar outside of   tragically died young.                 The scandalous behavior of her husband engaging and
      Dublin, where Alice has just purchased a home, the Rectory,      Both Ms. Rooney and Ms. Abedin offer the reader a   circulating revealing photos over the internet costs Anthony
      by the seaside. As the novel progresses, it is apparent that they   comprehensive view of the society they inhabit as well as their   his marriage as the press highlighted each and every one of his
      are mismatched as a couple, but they travel to Italy together   own attempts to find marital bliss. Ms. Rooney describes the   indiscretions. When Anthony is forced to accept responsibility
      at Alice’s expense, separate and come back together, and   complex social scene among the professional class in urban   for his behavior and is sentenced to jail time, Huma opts for
      the tension in the book is when or whether Alice will finally   Dublin. The penultimate chapter of the novel presents the four   divorce. Anthony and Huma’s son Jordan Zain is the fortunate
      break up with this bad-boy dude whose vices and lack of class   principal characters cohabiting at Alice’s home, drinking and   survivor of the marriage; Huma is devoted to him and shares
      regularly appear. She has Catholic sympathies in addition to   smoking joints, engaging deeply and revealing themselves,   joint custody respectfully with Anthony, and the boy is the
      her liberalism and stringent Marxism, which in addition to the   insecurities, frustrations, antagonisms and the like.  remnant, perhaps the felicitous both/and of the title.
                                                            In 1995, Huma was tapped by the First Lady’s HRC      Fiction  (novel)  like  non-fiction  (memoir)  offers  an
                                                         organization to work as a lead for Ms. Clinton’s travel   illumination of life, though, in Emily Dickinson’s phrase, it
                                                         arrangements. Though this was a hectic time for the Clinton   may “slant” the truth. Ms. Abedin tells the intensive struggle of
                                                         family with scandal and impeachment proceedings, Ms.   a woman to combine career, family and traditional values. Sally
                                                         Abedin focuses upon her work for Hillary Clinton for more   Rooney’s novel perhaps celebrates the aesthetic of beauty,
                                                         than a twenty year plus period, during which Hillary served   while Huma Abedin’s memoir renders truth. Sally Rooney
                                                         as First Lady, participated in two Senate races which she won,   presents a pessimistic view of the current world situation, i.e.
                                                         and two presidential runs which she lost. She does not explore   Weltschmerz, while she holds up the mirror to the sublimity
                                                         Hillary’s own troubled personal life with her husband Bill, but   of beauty and timelessness of art.
                                                         rather offers insights into her role as assistant: the thinking
                                                         of her boss on the major issues of the day. And in addition to      Dr. Ronald J. Meyers, a resident of La Paz, is an Emeritus
                                                         supervising her schedule, making sure that she is on-time to   Professor of English. 

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