Monday, April 25, 2016

Would You Buy an Elephant from This Woman?

Svetlana Geier, translator of Dostoevsky's "elephants"* into German
*The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment,  
The Idiot, The Devils, and Raw Youth

I watched the film The Woman with the 5 Elephants again the other night.

I have recommended it to many people. I thought that my recommendation had to do with the fact that it is about the novels of Dostoevsky (the "five elephants" of the title), or because it shed new light for me on people in Ukraine caught between the Nazis and the Soviet Union during World War II.

Svetlana Geier
The Woman with the 5 Elephants is about those things, but watching the film again reminded me there is something else that I really love more about it.

The Woman with the 5 Elephants is really about the beauty of this old woman. Watch how she keeps going . . . cooking with her family . . . traveling with her granddaughter . . . working away with her editor on her translations.

And, yes, there is a tremendous beauty in her ability to boil down all that she has seen and experienced and worked on to some simply-stated truths.

We live in a society that worships youth. But it is old people that are really beautiful!

Related posts

I love to walk around North Pond here in Chicago and notice the asters as September stretches into October. They make me think of my mom . . . .

(See Asters for Eva )

Who are we? The United States, personified by its "great man" President Obama, is a kind nation that is riven by a belief that it should have the ultimate power over life and death, that every being on earth is somehow of lesser importance.

(See Reflecting on America's Split Personality (Moscow Airport Summer Reads) )

I wonder if, years from now, we will be thinking back to today and feeling surprise at how little we thought about some of the developments in our world, and in our country, and how we talked about them even less. Someday will I have to explain to my kids, or to my kids' kids, why it was that "people just weren't talking about it" . . . ?

(See Why Weren't People Talking About It? )