Thursday, September 11, 2008
Passing it On
Lately I've been reading a new book called The Girl from Foreign: A Search for Shipwrecked Ancestors, Forgotten Histories, and a Sense of Home, by Sadia Shepard. I am thoroughly enjoying it. Here are the quotes she shares at the beginning.
"When I think of Bombay now, at this distance of time, I seem to have a kaleidoscope at my eye; and I hear the clash of the glass bits as the splendid figures change, and fall apart, and flash into new forms, figure after figure, and with the birth of each new form I feel my skin crinkle and my nerve-web tingle with a new thrill of wonder and delight. These remembered pictures float past me in a series of contrasts; following the same order always, and always whirling by and disappearing with the swiftness of a dream, leaving me with the sense that the actuality was the experience of an hour, at most, whereas it really covered days, I think." - Following the Equator, Mark Twain
"And might it not be, continued Austerlitz, that we also have appointments to keep in the past, in what has gone before and is for th emost part extinguished, and must go there in search of places and people who have some connection with us on the far side of time, so to speak?" Austerlitz, W.G. Sebald
I've read most of Austerlitz, at different times, flipping through pages. I was drawn to the book by the same sense of the narrator's searching for threads, and the satisfactions of each mind finding them, threading as we go, unraveling as they do.