John Berger who is an Englishman lived down in France for almost 50 years of his life, cannot take away romanticism experienced in his life from his writings. His most famous work ‘Ways of Seeing’ presenting the view that an art critic had to take and ‘G.’, a novel set in the backdrop of pre-world war Europe along with many other books play a lot with the naming. You might have to list down the titles and end up with a beautiful story itself.
Book #: 41
Title: “Here is Where We Meet” by John Berger
“Here is Where We Meet” is a recommendation I received from a source that I don’t know but I need to acknowledge the source of this. If not for this recommendation, that helped me keep this book on my Amazon ‘Watchlist’ for almost 2 months or more to finally read last week.
“Here is Where We Meet” is many more things beyond being a novel. It blends memories, experiences, and perceptions about death and life. As the title goes, it is about meeting people at difference places and at different time references but the consistent theme runs through the book is about relationships and the joy of holding them close to the chest.
The collection of stories goes by the location names where the meeting happens: ‘Lisboa’, ‘Geneve’, ‘Karkow’, ‘Some Fruit as Remembered by the Dead’, ‘Islington’, ‘Le Pont d’Arc’, ‘Madrid’ and ‘The Szum and the Ching’ will close to a chapter titled ‘81/2’
It would not be an offense to say this title chapter ‘81/2’ which extends nothing beyond two paragraphs and four additional lines gives you a much holistic view of how to read your life and almost reflects my thoughts on reading books:
“I liked books which took me to another life. That’s why I read the books I like. Many. Each one was about real life, but not what was happening to me when I found my bookmark and went on reading. When I read, I lost all sense of time’
There is a piece of advice for emerging writers as well
‘I risk to write nonsense these days
Just write down what you find.
I’ll never know what I’ve found’
But, doesn’t leave us before bringing critic in him to the front:
‘All you have to know is whether you’re lying or whether you ‘re telling the truth, you cannot afford to make a mistake about that distinction any longer’
This last sentence exactly refers to your opinion of reading this book. It takes you to the deep inside the narrator, the thoughts, and interactions he had – but gets absolutely difficult to separately identify the narrator to the author and it reflects in a similar way in your reading experience – are you talking about your own story as a narrator or are you a mere reader trying to read someone else’s life.
John Berger Image credit: Photograph by Jean Mohr for The Paris Review