29 November 2010

All these years and you never knew

Pavlova and her pet swan, Jack

When he was smaller, my 12 year old brother declared he was going to be a geneticist. "Why?" asked our father. "So my grandparents never die," replied my brother.

Soon after she died he wrote a story, 'Travelling Companions', in which William, travelling in Italy from Germany, met her by chance in Milan Cathedral, having first seen her in front of Leonardo's The Last Supper. He loved describing her white umbrella with a violet lining and the sense of intelligent pleasure in her movements, her glance and her voice. He could control her destiny now that she was dead, offer her the experiences she would have wanted, and provide drama for a life which had been so cruelly shortened. He wondered if this had happened to other writers who came before him, if Hawthorne or George Eliot had written to make the dead come back to life, had worked all day and all night, like a magician or an alchemist, defying fate and time and all the implacable elements to re-create a sacred life. -The Master, Colm Tóibín

How to stay immortal, when telephone calls are no longer.

3 comments:

little augury said...

Just on this alone I will have to read it. the Pavlova is too perfect.

little augury said...

update- I have this! sadly it has been unread til- well as soon as I finish Just Kids-which I am sure you have already read-just beautiful too.

jezebel said...

I haven't read Just Kids, for no very good reason at all. The shame of it. The Master is really wonderful.