Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Hot Breath of the Future

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Chill Hand of Mortality

In an interview published in The New Yorker, part of the publicity for his new novel Exit Ghost, Philip Roth says this:

. . . at this stage of the game I’d much rather spend my reading time - as I have been doing - revisiting, for the last time around, other writers, like Conrad and Hemingway and Faulkner and Turgenev.

So now, in addition to books (some as yet unwritten) I haven’t yet read, books I don’t ever want to or need to read, and books I’ve read but won’t ever read again, I have to look forward to a time when I have to concentrate on books I really must reread, one last time, before it’s too late. At least, if I’m carried off in the middle of rereading one of my favourites, I won’t have to worry about never knowing how it ends.

In the same issue, Louis Menand beautifully evokes that old, still-potent romance:

. . . I often stopped for gas at a service area on the Mass Pike about fifty miles from Boston. It’s fairly high above sea level there, in the lower ranges of the Berkshires, and I would stand at the pump in the dark looking at the stars in the cold clear sky as the semis roared past and with the wind in my hair, and I liked to imagine that I was a character in Kerouac’s novel, lost to everyone I knew and to everyone who knew me, somewhere in America, on the road.
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