Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Last Word



Mater gave me a fat book by Wilkie Collins. He was her favourite many moons ago, and she hoped I would take the wordy old detective novel to heart as she did, and scratch my head over the puzzling twists and turns exactly as she had done or- better still- in my own particular way.
But I am reluctant to begin the course of reading it, hesitant to take the first steps that will, inevitably, lead to the turning of the very last page.
When Mater was a youngster, she read everything she could by the fellow. Then she wanted more. She hunted high and low. To her great sorrow, she discovered only an enormous literary void: she had inadvertently devoured Collins' two major works and- the writer being long deceased- Mater was left desolate, without a whisper of a possibility of any further treats.
It being best, in this case, to let the mystery linger, I know that Mater will understand if the volume rests a while on my bookshelf.

3 comments:

julochka said...

i've had that feeling too--only for me, it's about murakami. i'm saving "a wild sheep chase" on my shelf because i can't stand to think that i've read everything he has. of course, with him, there's hope that he'll write more, since he's still alive. but i can't bear to think i've read it all...

Pauline said...

ah but if it is a good book, you can read it again and again!

TheElementary said...

Julie, I also feel like that about older films- I've lately liked the Marx Brothers movies and am watching them very, very slowly because I know there's no chance of more. But I do feel that way about living authors too- but most of my favourites are very slow to publish and I have to wait and wait for the next one.
And Pauline, your sentiment is true too, because I also think: what's the point of a book or a film if you haven't experienced it? It's nothing but a stack of papers if you don't know what's in it. And they are there to be enjoyed many times over. But still, there's something about an unread book that holds more possibilities... some of my favourites I (nearly) wish I hadn't read because the first reading is over forever and I can never get that back... so I think both sentiments at exactly the same time: thus the conflict!

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