Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Be Near Me

By Andrew O'Hagan. This book is even better the second time. Look for it in hardcover in June when it comes out from Harcourt.

Particularly loved this passage:

“There’s a way of feeling homesick, not for any house, not for any particular place, but just feeling homesick as a manner of being alive, every day a sense of existing in exile from a place where you might belong. The Germans have a word for it: Heimweh.”

It'd be lazy of me to say this is about a gay priest involved in a sex scandal within the Catholic Church. Plus, it would probably turn you off to reading it. But since I am feeling pretty lazy, I hope this short description and another passage will entice you to pick up the book this summer. I would say it's really about a lonely man who moves to a place where he's not welcome. It's about being a foreigner, not just in the place you live, but to yourself, as well.

See how well O'Hagan describes his characters:

“Everything about Nashe was the opposite of hostile: he wore round tortoise-shell glasses, a succession of green cardigans, he liked booze and was forever shaking his watch at his ear, waiting for time to move on and jokes to improve.”

And this:

“I see Conor reaching into the crowd with a smile as large as the decade that made him. I see the great hope on his face and his readiness to invent the air one might breathe. At night, I sometimes see him driving down to the place where the River Wye runs through a valley in Buckinghamshire. I hear his sacred heart and see his eyes closing as he falls asleep. And I say: be near me. "

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