Today, I resumed reading a book I have been avoiding for a while now. Two weeks ago I learnt – forty pages into the book – that I had watched its film adaptation a year or so ago. I was disappointed it took me so long to remember why the novel felt so familiar. Initially I thought it was a case of déjà vu, but as I delved further into the book I decided to do a Google search, confirming my fear.
I’ve been obsessed with the idea of forgetting over the past couple of months, and maybe in a way I got what I wished for. The film was connected to a time in my life I wished to forget, a time that now repeats itself with a new fervour, as if I had not been the one who lived it. Blessed are not the forgetful, Nietzsche. Their curse is that they relive their blunders. I cannot say for certain that it is possible to forget, but I know it’s easier to regress and suppress, to identify the two with a slow decomposition of memory. Just the other day I woke up to the memory of an adventure I was involved in as a kid. I have not though about it since it happened close to two decades ago. I wear my memory like an obscure charm – the kind you might find at Maasai market, curved by a man who speaks the same language as you – under my clothes, safe from the light, safe from subjugation by strangers. It is a thing I am at once ashamed and proud of.
Maybe the reason why I could not remember the film is that I did not watch it to completion. I don’t remember. I do recall forwarding to the sex scenes.
I find it difficult to read this particular book. It has all the makings of a great novel, at least according to my tastes: it quotes passages from other great works, it is awash with poetry, it covers centuries, it involves a love affair based another the secret affair etc etc.
It’s almost October.