Realised another schoolmate had written a book.
We’ve not been in touch for more than a decade (we used to occasionally travel back from school together with a few others who live on the same side of the island) so firstly it was great to find out what she’d be doing all these years. It was like getting re-acquainted, and not at a small-talk surface level. Somehow, reading a person’s writing, draws mind to mind. And you feel like you somehow know the writer pretty well, even though you might not know him or her at all, in the conventional sense.
Anyway, secondly, it was wonderful to read her book because the first few pages completely blew me away. I wasn’t familiar with her writing in our school days, but a mutual friend remembered that she’s always written beautifully.
And oh how joltingly beautiful.
Here are some of my favourite passages:
I lifted her up to meet her gaze. The expression she wore struck me as meek, but not anxious. It was as if here was a bird so wrapped up in private thoughts that she didn’t have the time to panic about what must be the many hazards of her life.
The tern hangs still, suspended, like a statue—like stopped thought. A long and tiring day can be entirely redeemed by this high silence.
It’s a bit like a sewing machine, Stefan had told me three mornings earlier, after his first pilgrimage to this spot in Bleckåsen. The sound coming from the meadow wasn’t, in fact, so far from what he had described—notes of metal whistling and punching, whistling and punching, at speed. It was an obsessive little racket, the kind of sound that might come reeling at midnight from beneath the door of a red-eyed tailor in a fairytale, running stitches through cloth faster than his hands could keep up. This was the voice of instinct, I thought—the voice of conviction in the face of loss.
I thought it was so cool that her book was released under a Creative Commons license. It can be downloaded free in various e-Book formats, and one can make a voluntary payment in return, as I did. She has since published the book in hard copy as well, which is awesome.
This was one of the 26 books I read last year, according to the trusty Goodreads app. If there’s one redeeming thing about having to spend too many minutes on public transport every day, it’s the fact that it gives me time to read gems such as this.