Saturday, January 23, 2021

Something new and brave …

… Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford review - both a requiem and a giving of new life | Francis Spufford | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

“What if, what if”, people keep wondering in Light Perpetual; “Why this life and not the other?” The novel itself, for all its intricate realism, is questing for alternative histories, other futures. How can the loss of a life be measured, Spufford asks: “How can that loss be known, except by laying this absence, now and onwards, against some other version of the reel of time?” Once we’ve switched to this “other reel”, it comes as a shock to look back, to be reminded of the history that blew these children to dust. So Spufford proceeds with acts of measuring that defeat all tapes and scales, considering the inestimable value of people by imagining them gone. The novel is both a requiem and a giving of new life, fusing death and resurrection as they are fused in the Christian liturgy: “Let light perpetual shine upon them.”

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