Two Ghosts Between Covers

I converse from time to time with a bibliophile. It inspires me to recount a bookish tale.

On the skids from academia I kept either of two books near me as a talisman, carrying one even to bars. They didn’t relate directly to my teaching or my research domain or my committee servitude. They connected me to where I wanted to be, a place in my head, a fantasized detour around my impending dead end.

I didn’t find that detour. Oddly enough the two titles, with the names of their authors, faded from memory. Periodically I’ve sought to drag them out of the quicksands of recollection. Recently they returned to mind of their own accord.

The first book was “Tiempo de silencio” by Luis Martin-Santos, a Basque Spaniard killed in a car wreck in his forties as I recall. It intrigued me that he was a psychiatrist. What I remember of the work is short chapters without clear connection one to the next. It seemed daring and experimental.

The other book was “Los albañiles” by Mexican writer Vicente Leñero. I know nothing about Leñero. His narrative, set in Mexico City among construction workers (I’m relying on memory), read like a fever dream. I dwelt on the text and hovered over it. Its technique and language were challenging. I think it made me feel good to tackle it.

Those books are gone, sold or donated with the rest. I wonder what I would think of them now? I would be tempted to buy them again to read and see.

Read the rune.
(c) 2022 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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5 Responses to Two Ghosts Between Covers

  1. Jim, I am sure you have read WG Sebald? For me, his ‘Austerlitz’ has that ‘fever dream’ quality. Though I have only discovered him in recent years, I plan to re-read his work often. All the best. Sue

    Liked by 2 people

    • JMN says:

      How interesting you mention Sebald, Sue, picking up on the ‘fever dream’ quality. I haven’t read his work, but I did catch a good article about him not long ago. I would love to know his writing better. Thanks for your comment. By the way, I noted your father’s wartime history in another comment thread. Fascinating how things weave. My dad trained as a bombardier in what was then the Army Air Force. Only a crash in training kept him from seeing wartime service. He was 20 at the time! Cheers, Jim.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was given Austerlitz by a friend about 2 weeks ago! On my ‘to be read pile’. Who knows, may be my next book of the year!

      Liked by 2 people

      • JMN says:

        The direction of travel in this conversation argues for your choosing “Austerlitz” for your next read, OA. You and Sue have made it necessary for me to read Sebald too! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Jim, Isn’t it amazing how we find connections and parallels? It’s a good feeling in these difficult times. All the best Sue


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