Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Clair de Lune in prose

The cover of Clair de Lune.

Photo: Lin Ya-ti, Taipei Times

Listening to Zoe’s radio show, one notices that her speaking style is slightly fast-paced. That is because she has so many things to share with her listeners. Zoe has transformed her passion into a collection of prose essays titled Clair de Lune, in which she writes, “While the waves of life were crashing in, I picked up the shells cast up on the beach of memories enshrined in my heart, and the echoes returned by each shell have become a chapter in this book.”

Zoe, who is also a musician, reads widely from a broad range of books, making her a rarity in Taiwan’s music scene. Like a fussy but attentive housekeeper, she has organized the international art events she has read about in chronological order and classified them according to event type and even to the subtle commonalities shared by the events. She has then wielded a graceful pen and used the simplest words to write up the past events in penetrating detail. She is able to make a smooth transition from talking about this year’s World Book Day in the UK, which gave out one million books, to the Japanese elections, writing that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda quoted a sentence from a poem by calligrapher and poet Mitsuo Aida, “I will never be a goldfish in a scarlet robe, but like a loach in muddy waters.” She does this simply because she wants to emphasize the importance and preciousness of reading.

Zoe says she named the book Clair de Lune (“Yueguang Zouming” or “Moonlight Sonata” in Chinese) because she almost always sets pen to paper deep in the night, making it a very suitable name. The book is organized along five themes — “Listening,” “Sight,” “Taste,” “Touch” and “Smell.” “Listening” is an art with which Zoe has spent most of her life. “Sight” is her interaction with the visual arts. In “Taste,” she talks about the sublimity of desire. In “Touch,” she shares feelings that have arisen during precious time spent traveling. Last but not least is “Smell,” in which Zoe talks about the charm and fascination of reading and sings the highest praises of literary composition.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Lin Ya-ti)





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