The Big Read Blog (Archive)

My Life with the Wave

Ocean Waves Hitting Rocks by Shari Weinsheimer

With the beach on the brain, today we're offering a surreal ode to summer. Though primarily a poet and essayist, Octavio Paz also wrote imaginative short fiction that further cemented his place in world literature. “My Life with the Wave,” (or, Mi vida con la ola) a renowned story by Paz written in 1951, first appeared in English in a collection called Eagle or Sun. The story reads like a long prose poem as it follows the intense life of a man who has a torrid love affair with an ocean wave---a relationship that drives him to emotional extremes of rapture, jealousy, and rage. You read that right. A love affair with an ocean wave, and a torrid love affair at that. How's that for personification? As Paz writes, "Love was a game, a perpetual creation."

I can't recommend it enough. It's a gorgeous, ingenious story. Here's actor Tony Plana reading the beginning of "My Life with the Wave."

[audio:http://bigreadblog.arts.gov//audio/PazWave.mp3]

[transcript]

To hear the entire short story, please go the Big Read web site. Here, you can also listen to Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, who recently passed, reading his own story, "Chac Mool."

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