Friday, September 5, 2008

The Reader

"Being ill when you are a child or growing up is such an enchanted interlude! The outside world, the world of free time in the yard or the garden or on the street, is only a distant murmur in the sickroom. Inside, a whole world of characters and stories proliferates out of the books you read. The fever that weakens your perception as it sharpens your imagination turns the sickroom into someplace new, both familiar and strange; monsters come grinning out of the patterns on the curtains and the carpet, and chairs, tables, and wardrobes burst out of their normal shapes and become mountains and buildings and ships you can almost touch although they're far away. Through the long hours of the night you have the church clock for company and the rumble of the occasional passing car that throws its headlights across the walls and celing. These are hours without sleep, which is not to say they're sleepless, because on the contrary, they're not about lack of anything, they're rich and full. Desires, memories, fears, passions form labyrinths in which we lose and find and then lose ourselves again. They are hours when anything is possible, good or bad.

This passes as you get better. But if the illness has lasted long enough, the sickroom is impregnated with it and although you're convalescing and the fever has gone, you are still trapped in the labyrinth."

The Reader, Bernhard Schlink

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How quaint !