(Book #31) Rosalie hosted and started the evening by saying she’d decided against raw meat, even as steak tartare, assuming none of us had ever married a tiger, unless metaphorically. She opted instead to put together a meal of the kind she served as a young wife cooking for guests. For starters we had a cheeseball that hid deviled ham inside. The main course was chicken in wine sauce served over noodles, accompanied by buttered broccoli, and fennel and apple salad. We had delicious pots de creme for dessert.
We all liked the book and thought Obreht and amazing writer, especially for one so young. We talked about the power of myth and the extent to which it colors our lives. We talked about the scene in which Natalia and her grandfather follow the elephant through the sleeping city streets. Rosalie opined that we think of war as only those who are doing the fighting or mourning those who died, but the book depicts the way war affects everyone, the people who live next to it, the animals in the zoo.
Zora was a woman of principle, an open atheist. At the age of thirteen, a priest had told her that animals had no souls, and she had said, “well then, fuck you, Pops,” and walked out of church.
Eventually, my grandfather said:
– You must understand, this is one of those moments.
– What moments?
– One of those moments you keep to yourself.
…The story of this war… that belongs to everyone… But something like this -this is yours. It belongs only to you. And me. Only to us.
Everything lies dead in his memory, except for the tiger’s wife, for whom, on certain nights, he goes calling, making that tight note that falls and falls. The sound is lonely, and low, and no one hears it anymore.