What do you think?
Rate this book
277 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1968
"Do you know what I mean?"The slice of life is a guide, an instruction manual to understand a life. It is a bore at first, like many such manuals, like many such lives, when looking at the minutiae, when looking from the outside in. The life moves forward in stops and starts, decisions are made, love lives and dies and death is imagined then made real. The life goes on, and so starts another life, and then another..
"Yes," she said. "It's like a... dance somehow, a minuet or a pavane. Something stately and pointless, with all its steps set out. With a beginning, and an end..."This is our world, and another world, the past world, and the world of the future. Life cycles on, history repeats itself, religion gives and takes away, the individual rises and falls while unaware of their place in that cycle, the causality of actions small and large, the rippling effect of one human upon many other humans...
"sometimes I think life's all a mass of significance, all sorts of strands and threads woven like a tapestry or a brocade. So if you pulled one out or broke it the pattern would alter right back through the cloth.The author inhabits the characters and their descendants, this world and its antecedents. No attempt is made to make the experience an easy one for the reader, to make a described life come alive for any but the characters he has created, to make an envisioned world make sense for any but the residents of that world. And yet the characters come alive, as any life becomes understandable upon close and patient review, using that intangible tool empathy. And yet the world comes alive, as any world becomes comprehensible after living in it, after seeing that world in terms of not just differences but commonalities. Time marches on and time folds back in upon itself, the folds make something large seem small; but unfold that little world and its characters, and see how big it all becomes...
"Then I think... it would make just as much sense backwards as forwards, effects leading to causes and those to more effects... maybe that's what will happen, when we get to the end of Time. The whole world will shoot undone like a spring, and wind itself back to the start..."