1 Close connection, structural resemblance
2 relationship, similarity of character suggesting relationship
3 strong liking or attraction
(Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English)
What attracts us to another human being? What determines our liking for a place, a beach, a tree, a mountain, a book, a song, a painting? And what makes us capable, or incapable, of affinity?
In his novel, “South of the Border, West of the Sun”, Haruki Murakami describes the impossible attraction between two young people, which transcends time, growing up and the disappearance of the young woman, Shimamoto. This a “fatal attraction”, a theme that Murakami will later extend in the magnificent 1Q84, where affinity as mutual love triumphs against all odds.
What indeed of the affinity for a book? Is it attraction to a character, a style, a story? Or perhaps it is the fact that we would have liked to write the story ourselves. Affinity for art may be that: the aspiration to create, even when we know that we do not have the ability, the skills, the aspiration.
“It is a world that is made of love. Did you think there is only the kind of love your sister knows for her husband? Did you think there must be here, a man with whiskers, and over here, a lady in a gown? Haven’t I said, there are no whiskers and gowns where spirits are? And what will your sister do if her husband should die, and she should take another? Who will she fly to then, when she has crossed the spheres? For she will fly to someone, we will all fly to someone, we will all return to that piece of shining matter from which our souls were torn with another, two halves of the same. It may be that the husband your sister has now has that other soul, that has the affinity with her soul—I hope it is. But it may be the next man she takes, or it may be neither. It may be someone she would never think to look to on the earth, someone kept from her by some false boundary…”
A big thank you for Arlee at http://tossingitout.blogspot.co.uk/ who invented the Challenge for our greatest pleasure!