What strikes me about this novel is how the story is secondary to the telling of it. It is emotional, nostalgic beyond words, but stops short of being tragic or self-pitying. I read this book many years ago and pulled it down off the shelf today, as one often does with beloved books, to run my hands over the dust-jacked. Peering inside it seems every four or five pages I have folded over a corner so that I may return to some significant passage some time in the future. I’ve picked out this one, which – while not rocket science – is so well put, and on some level summarises very well the essence of what I remember about this book.
“In the beginning there was myself; my own body set the frontiers, physical and emotional, there was simply me and not-me; the egotism of infancy has grandeur. And when I became a child there was Claudia, who was the centre of all things, and there was what pertained to Claudia, out at which I looked, the world of others, observed but not apprehended, a Berkeleyan landscape which existed only at my whim – when it ceased to interest me it no longer existed. And eventually, or so I am claiming, I grew up and saw myself in the awful context of time and place: everything and nothing.”