The writer of this book – Twelve Minutes of Love – at one time resided in New Zealand and wrote, some time ago a book I liked a lot: Love in the Land of Midas.
But not this one. Perhaps the issue is that the woman who started to learn tango was in her mid 20s and in exile; neither of which I am nor were when I started learning tango.
“I know exactly where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing” he said, and stroked my legs. “That’s my problem. And where will these legs be dancing, in eight months’ time, in eight years?
“God knows” I said. All the cities, all the people, all the journeys ahead. I felt tired and lonely just thinking about it” (p.110).
So, what’s the problem?
Everyone seems a cliché. The Argentinians seem a cynical lot and her book certainly put me off returning to Buenos Aires to dance (which was fun the first time with mates and harder the second time by myself. I found Madrid and Melbourne easier. Perhaps dancing is easier in places that begin with M?). There is a good list of songs and it is clear that she has been bitten by the tango bug, I do envy her dancing in Marseilles for some reason (M?). But I dunno. It just seemed a bit clichéd, a bit tortured. Maybe I’ve forgotten what it’s like to seek love and the pain that’s involved (thank God I say). Maybe we Pakeha Kiwis just don’t get the angst and passion and skim the surface of something that originates in exile communities where homesickness and longing are rife. (Mind you my Scottish granny suffered that). I am pleased that Kapka finds a sense of acceptance and the possibility of love at the end.
It was ok – it wasn’t a terrible read but it wasn’t a great read either. Back to Mr Dickens.