Friday, December 9, 2011

From the writer of the preface to our book of the year i

 imagine a literature
 of power without force

He made her loneliness and her
isolation into a longing to meet
someone, for a face at the window,
a figure in the distance.

                 This longing, he knew, would in
                 time come to him, too, as the
                 garden door creaked, or the 
                 branches of the trees beat against
                 the window as he read by lamplight,
                 or lay awake in that old house, and
                 in one of those seconds before worth-
                 ier thoughts could surface, the first
                 thought would be to welcome what was
                 coming now ..

The person looking in through the window was the person who had appeared to her. He was the same. His face was close to the glass and his stare into her face was deep and menacing until she realized something that she would never cease to believe: the added shock of certitude went through her fiercely that it was not for her he had come. He had come for the children.

Colm Tóibín
The Master
  Chapter Six
Scribner, 2004©


  1. Hi Laurent,
    These words are just beautiful. I must read this book. Have a lovely Saturday evening!

  2. Oh, it is indeed delightful to hear from you. You know very well, he is discussing in this chapter the germination of "The Turn of the Screw," still the most chilling thing I have ever looked at (which is intended to include, cinema). But he famously did recall for us, without miming James, and the book is a very caring story, beautifully told. I say this, knowing it received sharp criticism from a fellow in the sidebar, Daniel Mendelsohn, for taking what he regarded as liberties with aspects of James' temperament; and I respect such reservations, but I don't see them as a material blemish on this book. I can't promise that you will love it, but I can say you will feel his affection for James, and might likely value its companionship.