Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Illusion of Separateness in a Hotpot

You might have heard of this saying from somehwere: every person can be linked to another person within a six-people chain. That means, through a link of within six people, you can be connected to anyone. It may be stretching a little, but many wonderful stories stem from some unknown chain events. This past month Simon Van Booy brought us his new novel: The Illusion of Separateness. I read his first novel and a collection of short stories because I had heard of his name through a chain of Wikipedia article reading. "If Margueritte Duras and Scott Fitzgerald had a son, he would be Simon Van Booy." I was just beginning to read The Great Gatsby at the time and have been in love with Duras for years, so I had to read him.

Six people, six lives, seemingly unconnected, live through the darkest and most painful moments of their lives across the ocean, continents apart. But there's a chain, an invisible connection that has brought significant impacts on their lives. Some of them have never known who others really were or have only encountered them once. Everything was so beautifully woven and unveiled bit by bit in the book. Van Booy has once again, took my breath away.

"Love is also a violence, and cannot be undone." It's a story of love, pain, and the illusion of separateness.

The best dish in the world that can express the same concept is Hotpot. I'm not really sure if it's one word or two. I suppose either way works, but I prefer one word, another sign of union. The Chinese hotpot is similar to the French fondue, except that it's a much bigger scale version and requires more ingredients and connects more food together.

A trip to an Asian market made my day. Spicy soup base, thin beef brisket, Asian greens, fish balls, a simple hotpot warmed both my stomach and heart. Tastes just like home.

Spinach, beef, fish ball, tofu, frog legs, mushroom, shrimp, fish, tripe, anything you can think of can be put in a boiling pot and cooked together as you dip in and dip out from the pot to your bowl. Sesame paste as a sauce base with pickled tofu, spicy sauce, a bit of cilantro. Ready to serve! You think these things can't go together? Sure they can! Anything is possible in a hotpot. The world is a hotpot.

Global village, tossed salad, or hotpot, whatever the metaphor, the world is in your boiling soup. No matter how different you are, you all participate in enriching the flavor of the soup and you all absorb the flavor of the soup. You swim together, you hold hands, you go through pain and love, you hug one another, you land in the bowl together. Each one of you is essential in making the flavor as a whole. Separeteness is only an illusion.

No comments:

Post a Comment