Friday, August 3, 2007

Going to Alaska.5

When I first heard "Going to Alaska," I had to look up the word jacaranda. This is what Wikipedia has to say about jacaranda:

Jacaranda (pronounced [ʒa.ka.ˈran.da], [ha.ka.ˈran.da], or [ˌdʒæk.ə.ˈran.də]) is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The genus name is also used as the common name.

Which reminds me, as does "Going to Alaska," of Joan Didion's novel A Book of Common Prayer. This is what Wikipedia has to say about A Book of Common Prayer:

A Book of Common Prayer is a 1977 novel by Joan Didion. It is a story of both personal and political tragedy in the imaginary Central American country of "Boca Grande." In 1983 Didion would publish Salvador, a book of essays on corruption and violence in El Salvador; the fiction and non-fiction reflect a similar perspective of rage and despair.

Run with me here. You are the deposed dictator (AKA president) of Boca Grande. Although your successor is your brother, you might like to get out of the country for a while. You might like to go somewhere quite different. In Alaska, you hear, there's snow to suck the sound out from the air -- whether or not this will also remove the sound of bullets remains to be seen.

Where you are now, the soil is soaked through with old blood and with relatives who were buried here, or close to here, and they are giving rise to what is happening. Alaska will not be like Boca Grande. The purple blossoms will have emptied out into the blinding snow, and there will be no politics, no fratricide, no under-the-table bribes. Nor will you have to get your foot in the door all over again; there will be no door to get it in, and the silence will clothe an entirely new kind of murder. It will be a vacation. You feel refreshed already.

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