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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Last Time

"To be given a glimpse now was a bitter miracle, a ghostly caress that left more regret than solace."

The last time a single sentence knocked the wind out of me like that one did - from Bill Clegg's debut novel "Did You Ever Have A Family" (2015) - I was reading "Every Last One" by Anna Quindlen.

The last time the architecture of a book mesmerized me like "... Family" did, I was reading Daniel Woodrell's "The Maid's Version". Both these spellbinding novels conjure the magic of Kurosawa's film masterpiece "Rashomon".

" ... we've learned that grief can sometimes get loud, and when it does, we try not to speak over it."

The last time I blogged about simple words painting intricate pictures I was speaking of "Room" (Emma Donoghue) and also citing the mastery of "A Lesson Before Dying" (Ernest Gaines). Clegg begins most of his chapters - each a character miniature - with sentences as simple as "She will go."

"They will be in love, or they will be lost, and they will have no words. And the waves will sound to them as they did to us the first time we heard them." 

The last time the final sentences of a book landed with me like those was when I re-read "The Great Gatsby" for the third time. Some books entertain us and some educate us. "Did You Ever Have A Family" - like all the others noted above - enlarge us.     

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