Magazine article World Literature Today

Of Darkness: (Two Excerpts)

Magazine article World Literature Today

Of Darkness: (Two Excerpts)

Article excerpt

Of Darkness is a book about love and death. These seem to me to be the only things worth writing about. When you write about love and death, the beauty in this world's fabric of small and ostensibly insignificant details reveals itself. Apples petrifying in fruit bowls in the homes of the grieving, the deterioration of our bodies and ideas, the things we believed in and must later discard. Writing is a kind of activism. You create a new language within the language, and once in a while you succeed in making the world deeper and bigger. It's a way of cheating death. Not to escape the anxiety and the grief but to find access to more life, looking through a new lens of the mind. Writing refracts the light for us in new ways. The light falls on a person's face as it falls on water. What does it mean to remember something? What is the status of memory? Everything is language. Even nature organizes itself in that way, connecting with us in a language we sometimes feel we understand. We see a grammar in nature. We are nature ourselves.

Of Darkness is about these languages. It is a love story and an investigation of what it means to lose something you love and something you are. - Josefine Klougart

It snowed, and the island became frozen into a sea that joined it to the mainland for months.

She told no one, but walked out into the white that lit up the woods from below.

The cover of snow speaks to the sky, as if together they possess some knowledge they continue to share, in that way to remain as one. A language requiring no translation, like a hedgerow connecting two places in the world.

January. Bells of frost beneath the horses' hooves, compact snow wedged to the iron shoe, the frog of the hoof blued and fraying in the freeze.

High walls balanced on the branches here.

It snowed, the way it had snowed for days, weeks soon.

Feet kicking up their fans of powdery snow with each step. The darkness unrevealing of such detonations of crystal.

The crystal shares much with literature. Material held together in a particular pattern, determined by particular rules. Structures repeating everywhere.

He can see that, he says. It makes sense.

She remembers the snow consumed her tracks and that she was unable to find her way home again.

Trudging, then to pause and listen to the sound of her breath, which in turn startled her. No way forward, no way back.

Like a year suddenly past. Or just a summer.

She remembers she gave up and thought of a farewell scene, a parting from her family and lover. She recalls being surprised at who turned up in her mind.

How many were present, and the way the snow settled in her hair.

She visits him again, for the first time in a while. They talk about that. He rocks gently, backward and forward in the chair. He's a good friend, she thinks to herself. He says he feels no need to fall in love again, that it is past now. After her, love is past. When he goes to the kitchen to get two oranges and some chocolate for their trip into the hills-before they realized they had no time to go to the hills, not that day-she noses around in his living room. The room is so very old. It's the first time she's been to see him. She passes her fingers across the spines of some books, the frame containing a photograph he took, and notices a bowl of withered fruit. Three peaches and an apple, their shriveled skins like dulled and sunken cheeks. She thinks it to be the saddest thing she has ever seen. Fruit, sapless and diminished, consigned to bowls of oblivion in the homes of abandoned people everywhere, broken people who yearn as yet, and who will continue to yearn in time to come, perhaps even forever-there, in such places, fruit is left, to decompose and slowly rot, though never quite to vanish. And there it remains, an organic timepiece measuring the hours from the first wrench of grief, when all things came to an end. It's as if these people wish to be reminded that everything has broken and come to a standstill; or else that life goes on, albeit without them. …

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