All that we miss

Charles Cowling

julian_barnes_2030375b

 

In his new book, Levels of Life, Julian Barnes writes of the grief he felt, and still feels, following the death of his wife, Pat Kavanagh. It centres on:

“the loss of shared vocabulary, of tropes, teases, short cuts, in-jokes, sillinesses, faux rebukes, amatory footnotes — all those obscure references rich in memory but valueless if explained to an outsider.”

It takes a great writer to articulate it so well. 

Barnes also describes the moment when it became “less likely” that he would kill himself because he realised that she was still alive in his memory. “I was her principal rememberer … I could not kill myself because then I would also be killing her. She would die a second time.”

 

11 thoughts on “All that we miss

  1. Charles Cowling
    Ru Callender

    James, that’s an outrageous statement. Charles is as jober as a sudge.


    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling
    james showers

    PS It’s the shadow on the honk that gives Julian the undeniable advantage of resembling our brilliant ed.
    And, er, is he a drinker too?


    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    james showers

    Yikes, Julian Barnes’ words smite me with a jagged recognition of what I would give for just one more full hour with Pamela. Who is still very much alive.
    I’m off home.


    Charles Cowling
    1. Charles Cowling
      Charles Cowling

      Heaven be praised for that!!!


      Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling
    Richard

    Charles, look in the mirror!


    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling
    Charles Cowling

    Am I being very thick? I don’t know what you mean.


    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Richard

    Lovely quote. From whom was Julian Barnes separated at birth? Anyone else spot a similarity? 🙂


    Charles Cowling
    1. Charles Cowling
      andrew plume

      ………….sure did Richard

      I didn’t want to flag it first

      regards

      andrew


      Charles Cowling
      1. Charles Cowling
        Kitty

        Justwhat I was thinking. Had to do a double-take.


        Charles Cowling
  7. Charles Cowling
    gloria mundi

    To each his world is private
    and in that world one excellent minute.

    And in that world one tragic minute
    These are private.

    In any man who dies there dies with him
    his first snow and kiss and fight
    it goes with him.

    (Yevgeny Yevtushenko)

    So Mr Barnes carries forward the private minutes of their life together, and those who knew both of them still find her in him, every time they meet.


    Charles Cowling

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