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Isabel came into the office for a few minutes to check in with us. I asked her what she was reading and she told me she is on disc six of an audiobook called A Gate at the Stairs, which was written by Lorrie Moore. She said it is about a teenager who babysits a mixed race child who has been adopted by a weird white family, and that she expects something bad is going to happen at any point since the baby is at the top of the stairs and there are all these gates and tricky steps. She figures it is just a matter of time before the name of the book plays into it. Click here for a link.

Isabel also mentioned two foreign movies she recently saw and loved. One is called Zelary, a World War II-era Czech film that came out in 2003 and was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film. It is about a highly educated urban woman who is a nurse and who saves the life of a mountain man with a transfusion of her blood. She is involved in the resistance against the Nazis and when she needs to find a safe place to hide, she goes to the man whose life she saved and he takes her in. Since he lives in the country—and, as Isabel puts it, “they are different there”—she must marry the man in order to stay hidden. The film is about the dynamics of their relationship, how it evolves, their two worlds, and the war. Isabel made it sound so moving I feel I must go out and rent it for the night.
The other movie, a German film called Cherry Blossoms, sounds equally stunning. After an elderly wife finds out that her husband is dying (he doesn’t know), they decide to visit their children and grandchildren in Berlin. On a side trip to the Baltic Sea, however, SHE suddenly dies! The husband realizes that his wife had never really done anything for herself and that she died without getting to do what she really wanted, which was to travel to Japan and to see Mt. Fuji and dance a certain shadow dance. He decides to live her dream for her, traveling to Japan and doing the things he realizes she wanted.
Isabel described this movie so beautifully—I was weeping a little by the end—that I feel like I would be disappointed by the actual film. Still, I’m also planning to check it out for the weekend.
Isabel chatting with us this morning..Who looks this good on a Tuesday morning?


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