Hungary is the featured country at the Taipei Book Fair last week. Though there were illustrious poet and children book author as well as interesting cultural events such as dance, arts,crafts and food, I was drawn to the film director’s talk on his first novel. It was based on his parents’ love letters after they survived the holocaust and his father had terminal tuberculosis.He defied death by writing 117 letters to women at a refugee camp in Sweden to find a wife. “I won’t give myself up to fate.”
He wrote it as a screenplay script originally but could not finance the production. After trying a decade he wrote it as a novel. It was “the talk of London Book Fair” and sold in a nine-way auction. The Chinese translation is available in Taiwan but English would not be available at Amazon till April. A film adaption of the story will be released this year. See trailer below.
This powerful story of love against destiny had a happy ending, the author’s father lived till 1998. Westerners and the younger generation would find it inspiring. The following quotes present different perspectives of destiny, love and loss.
“The troubled mind initially has no roots of problems; love and indebtedness are the seeds.” Su Shih.”To remove waves from the sea of suffering, dry the river of love.”
Su Shih, the millennium charm or best loved character in Chinese culture was three times a widower. His first wife and love of his life died at the young age of twenty-seven. His second wife was a cousin of his first wife who arranged the marriage so her young son would be well cared for. He did not really love his second wife but was greatly indebted to her for caring for the family, in particular he moved countless times due to his career and exile during her life time. His beautiful young concubine was only fourteen at their wedding and their infant son died on the trip when he was recalled from exile. His most beloved beauty fairy died at her early thirties in the wild south during his second exile.He fought long and hard with destiny throughout his life but did not have the luck the Hungarian couple had. His love and loss were not limited to spouse and family, he had many friends and relatives who loved him so much but lost their lives indirectly for him during his exiles.
“Life and death is a matter of destiny, just like day and night is the law of the universe.” Chuang Tzu.
My late husband fought vigorously for ten years with cancer that was diagnosed after the birth of our only son less than a year after our wedding. He won the combat only to be diagnosed with heart failure caused by radiotherapy treatment a decade ago.We struggled with heart failures on and off for another nine years until he refused life support when his heart finally failed waiting for a heart transplant. Altogether we fought for twenty-five years of agonizing medical ordeals because of our deep love for our son, my husband stayed alive so his son would have a complete family. He lived to see his son graduated from college,completed his military service and started on his first job in his dream industry.