JUDY KRAVIS

www.roadbooks.ie

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Up at the pond on the summer solstice, my second read of Tony Judt's The Memory Chalet. The hawker dragonfly is back, circling the pond as Tony Judt circles my sense of myself. He was a year younger than me and I seem to know him. The furnishing of his memory chalet is not so different from mine. The choices are different but the people doing the choosing are related. We are edge people. His precise placing of himself in relation to London Paris and New York could be mine. He liked New York, for example, because he felt most European there. When he thought or spoke of the English he did so in the third person.

He did not sit by ponds, I think. He liked Switzerland: mountains, trains. He was not a ruralist. He was a public intellectual.  Where I engaged with him first was perhaps his account of traversing London on tubes or Green Line buses, a boy in gaberdine I would have recognised.

One reason to read is to find your kin. One reason to sit by the pond is to find your neighbours, to breathe with the transitioning tadpole at the water's edge.

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