04 May 2013

A Home at the End of the World

At dinner, we talk about the restaurant and the baby. Lately our lives are devoted to the actual—we worry over Rebecca’s cough and the delivery of our used-but-refurbished walk-in refrigerator. I am beginning to understand the true difference between youth and age. Young people have time to make plans and think of new ideas. Older people need their whole energy to keep up with what’s already been set in motion.

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a friend who was kind enough to lend me his signed copy of A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham. “You haven’t read this, have you?” W asked. I told him I hadn’t; the only Cunningham I’d ever read was, naturally, The Hours. The next day I Googled the title and realized that, like The Hours, A Home at the End of the World had been made into a movie, too—featuring Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, and Sissy Spacek (who starred in In the Bedroom, one of my favorite films). The screenplay was also written by Cunningham, who, I must say, has such a lovely signature that it should be turned into a font type.

There is so much to read, isn’t there? I find this to be truer every day. And every day there is less time than the previous day to read more, to do more, to catch up, to make the most of what’s left. It was with this feeling of hourglass urgency that I read the Cunningham at a faster pace than usual. A few pages into Part III, from which the above passage is taken, I received, again from W, three more books, each of which I also plan to read as quickly as I can. In exchange I lent him André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name, in part because he told me he’d been reading Proust, of which Aciman is a sort of scholar. 

Anyway, about A Home at the End of the World: it’s a book, I think, that’s so full of love. I think I like it better than The Hours, and that’s saying a lot. Cunningham’s prose here is pretty, but his story is honest and raw. It made me cry a few times, none more unabashedly than when young Jonathan Glover walked into his parent’s bedroom after a fight between his mother (Alice) and father (Ned). He came upon his father lying across the double bed.

He could have picked me up and taken me onto the bed with him. That gesture might have rescued us both, at least for the time being. I ached for it. I’d have given everything I imagined owning, in my greediest fantasies, to have been pulled into bed with him and held, as he’d held me while the sky exploded over our heads on the Fourth of July. 

No comments:

Post a Comment