“The smell of snow had a cold damp edge, and a clarity that summer rain never had. The scent touched him deep behind his belly, and he could feel the old anticipation stirring as it had when he was a child waiting for the first snowflakes to fall” – Ceremony
It’s been a while. After three weeks on the road, a trip to Greece (more to follow on that) and spending five glorious days with my sister doing lighthouse-related activities, I haven’t had much time to read books for pure pleasure. I therefore decided to write about one I had already perused. ‘Ceremony’ by Leslie Marmon Silko was one of those watershed reads I couldn’t put down. When I finally finished it I felt the way I perceived existence had shifted.
‘Ceremony’ was first published in 1977 and follows the life of a young Native American man named Tayo. Tayo was a Japanese prisoner during World War II and he has returned to the Laguna Pueblo reservation. Prison life has almost disintegrated Tayo’s will to survive. He is unable to live his life there as he knew it before the war. Though other returned soldiers drown their sorrows in alcohol or engage in senseless violence, Tayo decides to delve into a past coloured by ancient traditions and beliefs in order to cure himself of his sentiments of alienation and despair.
Silko is a riveting writer. Her prose is candid and lucidly beautiful. ‘Ceremony’ is concerned with the encounter between modern and ancient worlds. It deals with the complexities involved in human survival and questions the futility of war.
This week I satisfied the old Jewish woman inside me and visited the Bretzel Bakery in Dublin’s Portobello neighbourhood. There is a mesmerising selection of fresh breads and spicily delicious cinnamon rolls if you feel that way inclined, which needless to say I always am.