The book was good but it felt like a step back from the masterwork of The Friend; they are so similar in structure and style but it felt a little bit like everything in this one was a few percentage points less powerful, which accumulated. The writerly citations and digressions felt more like a pale Cusk interpretation rather than the dispensations of a self-aware narrator; the narrative through-line felt like a bit of a vehicle to muse on death & loss rather than an event in of itself.

tAnd despite all of that, Nunez still wrote a good book. It was short and sweet and hit the right notes of warmth and melancholy. But it’s hard to recommend because I think there are books (some by the author, some not) that accomplish their goals more admirably than this one.



She wants to go somewhere, she says. I don’t mean travel. Travel would be a distraction. That’s not what I’m looking for. And if I did go back to some place that I loved or where I was very happy (Greece, for example, where she’d had the romance of her life, or Buenos Aires, where she’d had her best-ever vacation)—well, you know what they say. Never return to a place where you were really happy, and in fact that’s a mistake I’ve already made once in my life, and then all my beautiful memories of the first time were tainted.

I think it's largely true, what I once heard a famous playwright say, that there are no truly stupid human beings, no uninteresting human lives, and that you'd discover this if you were willing to sit and listen to people.

Dying is a role we play like any other role in life: this is a troubling thought. You are never your true self except when you’re alone—but who wants to be alone, dying?

Lightning bolt
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