domingo, 4 de março de 2007

A Star Called Henry

Há muitos anos que tenho o vício de sublinhar os livros que leio: as passagens que acho mais relevantes, belas, hilariantes...

.....She walked into my father. Melody Nash met Henry Smart. She walked right into him, and he fell. She was half his weight, half his height, six years younger but he fell straight over like a cut tree. Love at first sight? Felled by her beauty? No. He was maggoty drunk and missing his leg. He was holding himself up with a number seven shovel he'd found inside an open door somewhere back the way he'd come when Melody Nash walked into him and dropped him onto Dorset Street. It was a Sunday. She was coming from half-eight mass, he was struggling out of Saturday. Missing a leg and his sense of direction, he hit the street with his forehead and lay still. Melody dropped the beads she'd made herself and stared down at the man. She couldn't see his face; it was kissing the street. She saw a huge back, a back as big as a bed, inside a coat as old and crusted as the cobbles around it. Shovel-sized hands at the end of his outstretched arms, and one leg. Just the one. She actually lifted the coat to check.
.....- Where's your leg gone, mister? said Melody.
.....- Are you dead, mister? she asked.
.....- Sorry, mister, said Melody.
.....He shook his head.
.....- Did you see a leg on your travels? he said.
.....- No
.....- A wooden one.
.....- No.
.....He seemed disappointed.
.....- It's gone, so, he said. - I had it yesterday.
.....Then Melody said something that started them on the road to marriage and me.
.....- You're a grand-looking man without it, she said.
.....Now he looked at Melody properly. She'd only said it to comfort him but one-legged men will grab at anything.
.....- What's your name, girlie? he said.
.....- Melody Nash, she said.
.....And henry Smart fell in love. He fell in love with the name. (...)
.....She took her shawl and wiped his face with it. She dabbed and petted, removed the blood and left the dirt. That was his own, none of her business. It didn't bother her. Dirt and grime were the glues that held Dublin together. She spat politely on a corner of the shawl and washed away the last dried, cranky specks of blood. Then she put the shawl back on.
.....- Now, she said.
.....Who was he and where did he come from? The family trees of the poor don't grow to any height. I know nothing real about my father; I don't even know if his name was real. There was never a Granda Smart, or a Grandma, no brothers or cousins. He made his life up as he went along. Where was his leg? South Africa, Glasnevin, under the sea. She heard enough stories to bury ten legs. War, an infection, the fairies, a train. He invented himself, and reinvented. He left a trail of Henry Smarts before he finally disappeared. A soldier, a sailor, a butler - the first one-legged butler to serve the Queen. He'd killed sixteen Zulus with the freshly severed limb.
.....Was he just a liar? No, I don't think so. He was a survivor; his stories kept him going. Stories were the only things the poor owned. (...)

Roddy Doyle é também autor de uma trilogia extraordinária sobre uma família do norte de Dublin - a família Rabbitte: The Commitments, The Snapper e The Van (as três obras foram adaptadas para cinema em realizações de Stephen Frears e Alan Parker). O seu romance Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha foi galardoado com o Booker Prize em 1993. Também já tive a felicidade de ler The Woman Who Walked into Doors.

Conhecer a maravilhosa Irlanda passa também por ler Roddy Doyle.

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