“When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he’d wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some gigantic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease.”
Oh, that voice! I would have kept going and going, transported, turning page after page without realizing the passage of time, I’m sure, except that it was my husband’s purchase, so I had to let him read it first. And by then, even though he raved about it, I’d moved on to other books.
TWO: receiving a comment from a colleague on my post about nonfiction binges at the end of January—
“I just decided over the weekend that the NF binge is over. Now for some good old fiction. I think it was rereading The Road by McCarthy for an independent study I’m doing with a student — absolutely beautiful again.”
His comment made me remember the sweet pull of that first page in the bookstore, but unlike Ron my nonfiction binge wasn’t quite over yet.
THREE: reading my sister’s review on Goodreads yesterday —
“Loved it. It was sad and honestly frightening at times but I thought the dialogue — though very simple — was incredibly telling and moving. And depending on how you look at it, it ended well.”
It’s time. I’ve missed fiction. And I need something like this — “absolutely beautiful,” “incredibly telling and moving” — to help me remember how much I crave the best literature. I’m full of happy sighs just anticipating this book, and my plan is not to set it down again until I’ve committed a bookmark into a crease however many pages in I can pull myself away.
Does it ever take three tugs to convince you to read a book you knew you were going to love anyway? What books have you sighed over lately?