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Old 12-14-2016, 03:51 PM   #14
fantasyfan
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I absolutely loved this book. As well as dealing with a number of transcendental themes such as the nature of spirituality, love, art, and life-goals, there were also some gently humorous moments such as Martine's first view of the turtle.

" . . . when set down on the kitchen floor it suddenly shot out a snake-like head . . . Martine had . . . as a child owned a pet tortoise, but this thing was monstrous in size and terrible to behold. She backed out of the kitchen without a word."

Earlier she sees what appears to be (horror) wine. When she queries Babette, this is the response: is

"Wine, Madame! . . . No Madame. It is a Clos Vougeot 1846! . . . From Philippe, in Rue Montorguel."

"Martine had never suspected that wines could have names to them, and was put to silence."

But I believe the book has a deep message about spirituality. The father of the sisters trained his flock that spiritual power was linked to austerity. But Babette creates a world of the spirit through the art of a feast.

"Taciturn old people received the gift of tongues; ears that for years had been almost deaf were opened to it. Time itself had merged into eternity. Long after midnight the windows of the house shone like gold, and golden song flowed out into the winter air."

And again:

"The vain illusions of this earth has dissolved before their eyes like smoke, and they had seen the universe as it really is. They had been given one hour of the millennium."

All of this is tied to the calling of the great artist. It is they who share their vision through their gift. Babette has no more money: she has spent it all to share her transcendent power. But she is not poor.

"No, I shall never be poor. I told you that I am a great artist. A great artist, Mesdames, is never poor. We have something, Mesdames, of which other people know nothing."

Much more can be said. I've only scratched the surface of this beautiful story, but I would also recommend the utterly exquisite Danish film from 1987 which does full justice to the book. It, too, should not be missed.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 12-14-2016 at 03:57 PM.
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