This is obviously a little belated. We don’t commemorate too many deaths here, and I probably would not have done so in this instance either if I had not been reminded of this very fine passage from David Markson’s wonderful novel Going Down. It just felt, I don’t know, for lack of a better word, appropriate.
But then how strange, how inexplicably unreal, the facade of the church seeming to waver and recede, the silvered crucifix at its spire melting distantly into the drifting morning’s mists, and the square itself as it came alive both familiarly lovely and desolately alien at once, some gloriously insane Turner suddenly conceiving the sky now too, until I felt queerly tense, queerly expectant, and with something exultant in my head as well, Bach-like, the terrible beauty of some passion or requiem or credo never before heard, and with a sense of infinite peace also, as in that ceaseless ebb and drift of love, or the Tao, where something unimaginably miraculous was surely about to occur, or even lay upon me, myself, so that in that very moment I might have raised my lamed hand to deliver all, might have cried forth the dead, invoked radiance before the blind! Or was I only mad yet once again, and lost, as forever, lost? (p. 191)
If you’ve not read Markson, I suggest you work him into your reading schedule. You will be rewarded. (Note: if you opt for Going Down, I exhort you to read Lowry’s Under the Volcano alongside it. ¡Viva México!)
Incidentally, I just realized I’d kind of let this subject dry up, but who’s up for another Book Discussion Group this summer? We had a couple of suggestions at the end of the one we did on The Recognitions — Hoban’s Kleinzeit and McCarthy’s Blood Meridian stand out — but I’m not opposed to other suggestions. Let’s try to hash this out in the comments.