I wanted to memorize his uninspiring kiss. – from “At Seven, The Next Morning”
I haven’t read The Bell Jar since my freshman year of college – more than 20 years ago. While it was an odd choice for a freshman seminar class, it made us all understand our importance in that moment. Plath gave us a glimpse into our most vulnerable selves, while still allowing us to breathe on the outside.
What Ernesto Cepeda has done with La Belle Ajar (Clash Books) is to take Plath’s own words, but with new context. A revitalized love story for an upended generation. Cepeda brings beauty to the parts of us we fear the most: desires, sex, love, guilt, self.
There is a reason we fell in love with Plath. I remember reading “Tulips”, finding the most beautiful line I’ve ever read, “I am nothing; I have nothing to do with explosions”. Cepeda’s La Belle Ajar makes me fall in love all over again, but with a new language, a new level of vulnerability, and so many beautiful explosions.