Thursday, September 23, 2010

Abel's Island

William Steig 1976

The other night we started reading about Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint. He and his wife were out picnicking when a storm struck. They sought refuge in a cave but when his wife’s scarf blew off her neck Abel rashly ran after it and was swept away and marooned on an island. This “Edwardian dandy” of a mouse, fond of wearing a purple cravat, was forced to live by his wits and natural instinct. Alone on the island for a year, he makes profound observations about himself and the remarkable nature around him. We finished it last night, all four of us tucked up in my bed (it was thunder storming and Chris wasn’t home yet).

Rain caused one to reflect on the shadowed, more poignant parts of life- the inescapable sorrows, the speechless longings, the disappointments, the regrets, the cold miseries. It also allowed one the leisure to ponder questions unasked in the bustle of brighter days; and if one were snug under a sound roof, as Abel was, one felt somehow mothered, though mothers were nowhere around, and absolved of responsibilities. Abel had to cherish his dry log.

Steig managed to write such a beautiful, witty, sentimental, romantic, and clever story, made all the better with his scattered illustrations.

No comments:

Post a Comment