Read Quanto Mais Depressa Ando, Mais Pequena Sou by Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold Free Online
Book Title: Quanto Mais Depressa Ando, Mais Pequena Sou|
The author of the book: Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold
ISBN: No data
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Edition: Eucleia Editora
Date of issue: October 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 720 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.4
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‘Nothing is like being breathed on by a life’
In youth, we foolishly chase away the days looking towards the future. Once we get there, we realize the limited number of days remaining and look backwards, hoping we left enough of a mark on our race to the end so we can be remembered. Kjersti A. Skomsvold’s heart-warming The Faster I Walk The Smaller I Am, winner of the Tarjei Vesaas First Book Prize in 2009, tells the story of Mathea Martinsen, an elderly woman whose crippling social anxieties have kept her removed from the world, as she fights back against her disappearance from all memory. Although Skomsvold wraps the reader up in her playful and engaging language as this quirky novel delights and entertains across it’s darkly comedic investigation of loneliness and the acceptance of death, the joy begins to stretch thin and being adorable isn’t nearly enough to hold the novel up.
Mathea Martinsen always took pride in her longevity, gloating at the names in the obituaries of whom she had outlived until time passes on – and Mathea does not, and her loneliness becomes a burden too heavy to bear. Her attempts to make herself known, and their successive failures, are endearing and cause the reader to open their hearts for Mathea. She has become practically invisible in the world, and while she is terrified to make contact with others, all she desires is to mingle with another person. ‘[I]f I was kidnapped five minutes later,’ she thinks after departing from the cashier at the local grocery store (she cannot open her jam jars, and is too afraid to ask the cashier to open it for her), ‘and the cops came by and showed him my picture, the buy would say he’d never seen me before in his life.’ This sort of dark humor fills the novel, and is often laugh-out-loud funny as the reader takes pity on her. Each trace of existence she tries to leave on the world is erased or to insignificant to make a mark, and it makes one wonder if our lives leave any significant remnants behind. ‘I wonder what will happen to all our things, they’ll probably be thrown out and all our memories with them.’ What we attach to ourselves with such significance is merely garbage without us to give them meaning.
The anxieties of the narrator are nearly heartbreaking as all her attempts to leave her mark go unnoticed. ‘Still I am just as afraid of living as I am of dying’. Through episodic accounts of her past and present, we see her slowly approaching death like an exposure therapy, stripping away her fears as she faces it step by step. Skomsvold does an incredible job of blending past and present to give the effect of a full life, carefully baiting the readers interest with an allusion to an event that isn’t revealed until later, and blending the timeline together to achieve a moving, yet tragic, reveal at the novel’s end. While the subject and the events are often dismal, her playful use of language and humor manage to transform the melancholy into a bittersweet, and often uplifting, narrative. This technique allows the reader to examine death head-on without being burdened by its bleakness. While Mathea wants to die (all her life she hopes any ambulance siren is headed for her), she simply won't and is afraid to. I recently saw an elderly woman, while leaving a family Christmas get-together, tell her great-granddaughter 'Goodbye, hopefully you won't see me again. I want to go but He just won't take me!' Everyone felt bad for the granddaughter (in her twenties) for having to hear this, yet I felt bad for the great-grandmother. This novel only reinforced my sympathy for her. However, there is not much hope to be found, only acceptance. Mathea mentions her dislike for the tongue, as it is a muscle only attached at one end. ‘It reminds me of everything I’ve lost. The kites I flew when I was a child – the string broke every time. The dog I walked, the leash that snapped…’. She is childless and nobody living knows her aside from the neighbors across the hall whom she avoids – she is a thread in life attached to nothing. ’The banana plant looks like a tree, just a big plant that has flowers without sex organs and fruit without seeds. Therefore… when the banana plant has lost its fruit, it dies. It was the meaninglessness of this cycle that made Buddha love the banana plant, which he believed symbolized the hopelessness of all earthly endeavors.’All that live must die. This is something we all must face, nobody can do it for us, and, as Mathea learns, sometimes life is more terrifying than death. We are all unique, she posits, yet if everyone is unique, that is not very unique. We are all a part of a totality, and death is easier to accept if we let go of our image of the individual and give in to the totality. ‘But sometimes you have to give meaning to meaningless things,’ is her succinct summing up the human condition. While the final sentiments of the novel, especially those between her and a deranged elderly man she speaks with in a park, are bleak, they fill the heart and make death seem a little less of a burden.
There was much to enjoy in this novel. The relationship between Mathea and her husband was both sad and cute. Skomsvold does a wonderful job of using his love of mathematical logic to emphasize the rift between their hearts and souls. His view of the world as a nice, orderly place where everything has meaning and leads to the next so clashes with the void in which she exists. His use of a venn diagram to explain that he is having an affair was a great touch, charming yet saddening, cold and calculated yet brimming with emotion. Often the whimsy language reminded me of a less bizarre Amelia Gray, and I often laughed aloud while reading the trials and tribulations of the endearing narrator. However, this wears thin, even in the short 147pgs of the novel and by the time it reaches its moving conclusion (and the last few pages are gold), it was time to say goodbye. This book is like a short, torrid relationship with someone whom you find irresistible at first because they are so adorable and quirky and different, but after a few weeks their quirks began to grow in your mind as flaws (the narrators insistance of making things rhyme got annoying after so long, although a round of applause is due to translator Kerri A. Pierce for making these rhymes work in english while still maintaining the full impact of Mathea's quips) and you realize the two of you are just simply not right for one another. Like the repetitive style of this book, you repeat the same dates or events that first caused your hearts to sing but begin to be revealed as a forced event to not let the magic disintegrate. Yet, despite your decision to break hearts and move on, you can’t speak ill of them either, as you do still find them cute and charming, but just not for you. In this small dose, it is great, but without cutting loose, it is the sort of over cutsey-ness that would drive me mad. Our time together was fun, but it didn’t satisfy me in the ways that I needed to be satisfied and I know there are other books out there that are a better match for me.
If you are looking for a good laugh while being immersed in a somber story, this is a wonderful novel. There are many that I can see absolutely loving this book, and it is one that is well-crafted enough that I hope it finds its way into the hands of readers that will love every word of it. Skomsvold is very talented and her words flow effortlessly as it weaves a tragic portrait of the life and times of Mathea Martinsen, and I will definitely be reading any other books from her when they get translated into English. Plus, she gets many cool points for quoting Knut Hamsun. A quick read that won’t fill your head with ideas to ponder, but will fill your heart.
‘What’s the point of having neighbors anyway? They walk around their apartments and act like they’re not going to die, but they’re going to die, the cashiers at the grocery store are going to die, and that old man with the walker is quite likey already dead now. You’ve earned your heavenly sleep, though our earthly sorrow’s deep.’
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Read information about the authorKjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold made her literary debut in 2009 with the novel 'The Faster I Walk, the Smaller I Am'. The book was nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers' Prize, the P2-listeners' Novel Prize and won the Tarjei Vesaas' Debutant Prize (judged by The Literary Council of The Norwegian Authors´ Union). It was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013. Skomsvold has dramatized the novel and the play premieres at the National Theatre (Oslo) in 2014.
In 2012 Skomsvold published her second novel, 'Monsterhuman'. It was shortlisted for the P2-listeners' Novel Prize and Natt & Dag's Best Book of 2012.
The poetry collection 'A Little Sad Mathematics' was published in 2013.
Skomsvold's books are translated into more than twenty languages.
Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold has also published several essays, short stories and poems in anthologies and literary magazines. She is on the editorial board of the literary magazine Bokvennen litterært magasin.
Skomsvold studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Oslo and at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Subsequently, she attended the Writers' Class at the Nansen Academy in Lillehammer and completed studies at the Academy of Writing in Bergen. She has also studied literature at the University of Oslo, and French at Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, France.
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