Magazine article Tikkun

Leslie Epstein

Magazine article Tikkun

Leslie Epstein

Article excerpt

The latest of Leslie Epstein's eight books of fiction is Ice Fire Water: A Leib Goldkorn Cocktail.

When I was eleven or twelve, I pulled a brown and beige copy of The Grapes of Wrath off the library shelf of our home on San Remo Drive, lay down on the rug of that same corner room, and began to turn the pages in a shaft of light. There was, I remember, a turtle trying to cross from one side of an Oklahoma road to the other. It took the poor beast forever, just as it took me, child of privilege, forever to follow his trek, along with that of the Joads across what seemed thousands of pages.

Now no one has any time for reading-and the prospect looks worse for the next millennium. Yet that, the expenditure of time, is what is most peculiar to the experience of literature. No other art, not even music, so insinuates itself into our lives over weeks, months, and-if it's Proust we're pursuing-years.

The only analogy is architecture: not the decades and sometimes centuries that go into construction, but the daily shift in light, the angle of viewing, the passing of clouds across the reflecting glass, the vagaries in foliage and season and weather and in our own lives and moods that, taken together over years of trundling by Boston's Hancock building, say, make up our full encounter with it. …

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