I am finding my feet again after a big deadline, walking and biking around the neighborhood, trying to shed my tunnel focus by taking in the peripheries. I am unplotted and unsprung. It’s catch-up with the world (and reading) time. I spent two hours with The New Yorker this afternoon.
Two pieces really affected me. Both are highly personal accounts of premature death. The first is a passionate and beautifully-written piece by Francisco Goldman titled “The Wave,” which ran in February 2011. Goldman uses intricate flashback sequences to recount the death of his young wife and the talented writer, Aura Estrada, who died from injuries sustained in a swimming accident in Mexico in 2007. Aura was only thirty when she died and Goldman has done such a magical job of conveying her exuberance and offbeat spirit that I ached for having never met her. (Goldman’s book length tribute, Say Her Name, has recently been published to rave reviews and will definitely be on my summer reading list.)
The death recounted in Aleksandar Hemon’s “The Aquarium” (published in this month’s issue) while somewhat less sudden, is no less painful to grasp. In November 2010, Hemon’s nine-month-old daughter Isabel died of complications associated with a malignant brain tumor. The aquarium in this piece refers to that atmospheric and existential separation between the world of the well and the world of the ill. Even as Hemon conveys the feeling of being isolated in his devastating vigil, there is a feeling of tremendous fatherly love spilling over. This is a very soulful and moving read.