This list featured a discussion about the merits of novelist Per Petterson,
or his novels, rather. As it turns out Harvard professor and literary
critic James Wood wrote about Petterson's I Curse the River of Time in The
New Yorker a while back. It is a good review not so much for its praise of
Petterson as for Wood's perceptive and insightful detail. Among the
passages from the book he dissects is this:
"We said to each other, my mother and I, wouldn’t it be great one day to
taste this liquor; a liquid that for me turned into the true magic potion,
a golden nectar flowing through Remarque’s novel and on in multiple
streams, acquiring a strange, powerful significance, and that, of course,
because it was unobtainable, because they only sold one single brand at the
state monopoly and it was way beyond my means. But in *Arch of Triumph*
they were forever ordering Calvados, Boris and Ravic, the two friends in
the book who were refugees from Stalin and Hitler respectively, in Paris in
the years before the German occupation, and it was Armageddon then, on all
fronts, both back and forth in time, and the conversations they had about
life left the same bitter taste in my mouth as singing the hymn, which
goes: *Thank you for memories, thank you for hope, thank you Oh Lord for
the bitter gift of pain*, which in fact I did at a funeral not long ago.
Sing that hymn."
Take care, and carry on posting.