Friday, June 23, 2006

Where Not to Finish Books

I have a habit of finishing books on the subway. It's not a good place to do this. I'm always raw, unsettled, often near tears, and there I am, in the middle of afternoon rush hour, waiting for the doors to close because some lady with what looks like a laundry bag is standing there holding the doors open for her friend with equally exaggerated shopping acessories.

This happened to me this morning, on my way to the GreenMarket, having turned the last page of A.M. Homes' new novel, This Book Will Save Your Life, a delicious, often-hilarious, heartbreaking, highly-readable story about a man suddenly immersed in extraordinary circumstances. Earthquakes, movie stars, sinkholes, feral chihuahuas, possibly a saber-toothed tiger. Heart attacks, gay teenagers, compassion, transformation.

At the end of novels, I am too vulnerable. I want to be alone. Really alone. Instead, I'm stuck there with fifty-odd strangers, wondering if I'll be able to stand when I arrive at my stop, wondering if I'll be able to get one foot to move in front of the other.

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