Saturday, February 20, 2016

RIP: Lee-Eco

It's a grim two months of reaping and, given that a particular generation must grow old and die, more in store this year.

Harper Lee, Umberto Eco, RIP.

These two bookended my teen years, with To Kill A Mockingbird at the beginning of it and The Name of the Rose at the end. In between, all the space their individual books provided to seek out and delight in the extraordinary: a particular voice or way of being in the world, a dimly grasped idea that a murder mystery was just an excuse for a lot of complicated things. And somewhere, the feeling that though reading these authors and others like them set me irrevocably apart from the rest of my peers, I didn't mind it much at all.

And whatever retrospective adjustments I may have made to how I think about these two writers, with their passing they take away one part of my teenage self. 

(I also find myself anxiously watching for news of Godard and Herzog.) 


Veena said...

Fifteen years ago, in one of the standard rajma-chawal grad student thingies, I met a young man who I (mistakenly) thought said that he was reading Foucault's Pendulum because it was so unreadable. I pointedly ignored this specimen for nearly a year until one day, just as we happened to be passing by the abbey at Melk, he promised to lend me his tattered copy of The Name of the Rose. Couldn't ignore him or Eco after that. Should wake him up and ask if he remembers.

Space Bar said...

Veena: Aw. Eco brought y'all together - that is so adorable!

km said...

Eco kept popping up everywhere last week. On some historical fiction threads online; then when I was looking for a read for a long flight and noticed that my copy of "Foucault's Pendulum" was in tatters and finally when I found a bookstore with a shelf labeled "100 Books To Read in One's Lifetime" in which "The Name of the Rose" was displayed very prominently.

And don't you DARE question Herzog's immortality. (That gif was hilarious, BTW. Think I will start randomly shouting "Happy New Year, Losers!" at people this year.)