Sunday, November 30, 2008

Main Street

For me finishing a book is always a bitter sweet experience, a mixture of letdown and satisfaction . Having just completed Main Street (Sinclair Lewis) there was more balance between the two this time.Maybe it was the afterwards
analyzing the story that softened the letdown.

The book was written in 1920 . It is a novel that follows an "emancipated woman" through the early 1900's as she tries to socially reform a
small mid western town . After years of frustration and failure she decides to leave . Ending up in Washington DC for two years , she discovers it is too late for her to be a revolutionary and returns to except her husband and the town on their terms .
The book can be read in different ways as it is written as an allegory on exile and return . I found it interesting read as an historical novel. Here is an example of its great evocative detail.

Under the stilly boughs and the black gauze of dusk the street was meshed in silence. There was but a hum of motor tires crunching the road, the creak of a rocker on the Howlands' porch, the slap of a hand attacking a mosquito, a heat - weary conversation starting and dying, the precise rhythm of crickets, the thud of moths against the screen-sounds that were a distilled silence.It was a street beyond the end of the world , beyond the boundaries of hope. Though she should sit here forever ,no brave procession, no one who was interesting , would be coming by. It was tediousness made tangible,a street builded of lassitude and of futility.

Although sorry the story is finished I look forward to absorbing another classic soon.

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