Sitting in the lecture hall crying…

25 04 2007

Well, nearly crying.

Was it because I’m two days away from my program being finished and there isn’t a job in sight?

Was it because once again I find myself disappointed in people and situations (even though I try my best to avoid these at all costs)?

No, none of those things.  I found myself at noon hour in a big, empty lecture hall nearly crying because of the sheer simplistic beauty of The Book Thief.

What particularly struck me – and I’m only about a quarter of the way in – was the moment between Liesel and the mayor’s wife about the name of a boy in one of the picture books Liesel is looking at and “The Files of Recollection” that “interrupt” that moment.

There is such a sense of history and progress in that moment.  There is the history of what has occurred and what that has meant for the people involved – and there is also all the knowledge the contemporary reader brings and connects with references to barbed wire and 1918.  There is also a sense of progress in terms of time progressing and moving on, and how those who have been injured or have suffered contend with that.

All of that is in that little moment and throughout the rest of the novel that I’ve read so far.  There is that constant reminder of what is going to occur – what, in fact, has already occurred and which the narrator is privileged to know and which the narrator is continually reminding us of.  A kind of merging of past, present and future, which suggests at times an almost unbearable inevitability.  The kind that makes you want to stop, to look away, but which you can’t, but which you must not turn away from.

All of that built in me, but in the end it is the simplicity – such as when the mayor’s wife says, “He is nothing now in this world” – that has proved most heartbreaking for me.

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