Thursday, August 23, 2007

From John Glad’s introduction to Kolyma Tales

I pulled Kolyma Tales off the shelf this morning, and the introduction has to be among the best I've ever read.

"While the work of art “enriches” … , at the same time it creates a postpartum sense of loss: the first experience is unique, an act never to be repeated – no matter how great the understanding and appreciation later achieved through the most intent study. If only we could erase from our minds the memory of our favorite books and return to the still unsuspected wonder contained in those works! When we recommend them to our friends, we do so in envy – that we cannot recreate that initial magic for ourselves. And the more we love a book, the greater is our own wistfulness. We cannot step into the same river twice, not so much because the river is different, but because we ourselves are in flux.

"If you are about to read the stories of Varlam Shalomov for the first time, you are a person to be envied, a person whose life is about to be changed, a person who will envy others once you yourself have forded these waters."

1 comment:

Charlene D. said...

oh, I know exactly what he means! Anyone who loves reading would, I'm sure.

A new, good book is sort of like waiting for Christmas morning (at least in my family!) We love the holiday and so much pleasure comes out of lead-up. The presents are the payoff, but at the same time, the let down.

I love reading a good, new book, but I almost dread seeing it come to an end.

Mind you, I re-read many of my favorites. For those, it's a cup of tea, a cozy chair, and a long catch-up chat with your best friend.

So, you know, both have their charms.

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