anyone who has or has not read the last samurai by helen dewitt needs to read the last samurai by helen dewitt. i’m reading it now for the third time. i love it but it always makes me sad but i’m too sad to explain why it makes me sad.
There are people who think contraception is immoral because the object of copulation is procreation. In a similar way there are people who think the only reason to read a book is to write a book; people should call up books from the dust and the dark and write thousands of words to be sent down to the dust and the dark which can be called up so that other people can send further thousands of words to join them in the dust and the dark. Sometimes a book can be called from the dust and the dark to produce a book which can be bought in shops, and perhaps it is interesting, but the people who buy it and read it because it is interesting are not serious people, if they were serious they would not care about the interest they would be writing thousands of words to consign to the dust and the dark.
There are people who think death a fate worse than boredom. (19)
The business of getting a baby from womb to air is pretty well understood. Out it comes, a dribbling squall. Presently its talents come into the open; they are hunted down and bludgeoned into insensibility. But Mozart was once a prodigious, prestidigious little monkey. (30)
His head lay on the pillow, face as I had seen it, skull encasing a sleeping brain; how cruel that we must wake each time to answer to the same name, revive the same memories, take up the same habits and stupidities that we shouldered the day before and lay down to sleep. I did not want to watch him wake to go on as he had begun. (134)
You expected to hear Op. 10 No. 1 in D minor for the 60th time, but instead were shocked to hear in quick succession Op. 10 No. 2 in D major, Op. 10 No. 3 in B minor and Op. 10 No. 4 in B major, and you only heard them once each. It was as if after the illusion that you could have a thing 500 ways without giving up one he said No, there is only once chance at life once gone it is gone for good you must seize the moment before it goes, tears were streaming down my face as I heard these three pieces each with just once chance of being heard if there was a mistake then the piece was played just once with a mistake if there was some other way to play the piece you heard what you heard and it was time to go home. (177)