memory

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She sips her tea. “What I really fear is time. That’s the devil: whipping us on when we’d rather loll, so the present sprints by, impossible to grasp, and all is suddenly past, a past that won’t hold still, that slides into these inauthentic tales. My past–it doesn’t feel real in the slightest. The person who inhabited it is not me. It’s as if the present me is constantly dissolving. There’s that line of Heraclitus: ‘No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.’ That’s quite right. We enjoy this illusion of continuity, and we call it memory. Which explains, perhaps, why our worst fear isn’t the end of life but the end of memories.” She considers him searchingly. “Do I make sense? Does that seem reasonable? Mad?” –from The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman

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3 responses »

  1. Thanks for posting this quote, Sarah. It’s powerful and I hadn’t heard it before. At last…a fictional character who expresses my thoughts exactly about time and the past slipping away. When you are nearly 60 like me, that sense really becomes acute.

  2. Ahhh, Maggie, I canNOT believe you to be almost sixty. You are without a doubt one of the most youthful women I know–yet so filled with wisdom and words of encouragement. Have you read anything good lately? I’d love to receive recommendations from you, a fellow fiction addict.

    • YES, I just read a novel that I think you will love! I just finished The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It’s published in the ABA – Random House I think – and I read it in 2-3 days over Christmas when I was supposed to be reading hermenuetics instead. But I couldn’t put this one down, especially since we had foster kids and the protagonist/narrator of this novel is a young woman who has just aged out of the foster system and is trying to find her angry way in a world she was never really prepared for. When Victoria learns to speak “the language of flowers” her life and those of others begin to be transformed. A brilliant idea for a novel with many life-affirming, redemptive themes without being heavy-handed. There is also a mystery twist that is concealed till near the end. It’s a novel that shows more than tells. I got my copy from the Wheaton Public Library after being on the wait list for awhile. HIghly recommended!

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