Paper Please

Once more Marías has accompanied me into the late hours of the night, into my bed where my body takes its own nocturnal rest.  It is where I clutch his book close to my eyes as I fall deeply into the world of his characters trials and tribulations.  Having now finished my second novel by him (this one being Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me) and having read a book of his short stories, I am keen to dig ever deeper into his works of literature.

There is something captivating about the written word and the paper page, something that cannot be captured electronically.  It’s the simple collected elegance of a person’s thoughts, pressed onto the paper for all times sake until either the page crumbles or the book is burnt.  The book represents, for me, one of the fundamental pillars of humanity’s humanity, one of its real achievements in expression and deliberation.  As such, and accordingly, my room is covered in them, each surface littered with books on anatomy, literature, travel accounts and histories.  It is into books that I disappear into most nights, where I am immersed for longer than a movie, more deeply than a painting.

“You’re right about one thing though: I won’t forget those hours you talked about.  There are certain things that we should be told about immediately so that we do not, for a single second, walk about the world believing something that is utterly mistaken, when the world has utterly changed became of them.  It is simply unacceptable to think that everything is carrying on as it was, when, in fact, everything is different, turned upside down, and it’s true that, afterwards, the time we spent in error becomes unbearable to us.  How stupid I was, we think, and yet we shouldn’t find that so very painful.”

– From Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, by Javier Marías (published in 1994).

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