Book Read, Book Reading

Last week I finished reading Rachel Stolzman's "The Sign from Drowning ." Reading a book by someone who you've known, who you love and who is dear to you is a different read than reading a book by the author, the stranger, and Rachel is most dear to me, as dear perhaps as my own children.

Yet I find it excruciatingly difficult separating Rachel's voice in my ear and her voice on the page.

I was heartened by the reviews at Amazon and sad that I was not in New York when the Book Club I often joined read and discussed the book with Rachel. Without the added potency of a group read, I am left with a sense that I am dangling mid-air over the sea from the very cliff on which Rachel draws so much of the novel's material--Cape Cod.

And so when I picked up Elisabeth Gille's book, "Shadows of a Childhood " I was not prepared for the anonymous intimacy that moved the book forward and brought me, not to tears, but to remembrance.

Gille's book is autobiographical, Stolzman's book is not.

Both books are about childhood pain. In the "Sign of Drowning" we experience loss through the eyes of the first person narrator while in Shadows of a Childhood we first experience the protagonist through a third person narrative mode.
More than half way through "Shadows" I had this nagging feeling I had read the book before. And at the same time something about the book reminded me of Albert Camus' The Stranger, and Tahar Djaout Last Summer of Reason.

But most of all I recalled Bowlby's work on abandonment and its powerful affect and effect.

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