I am a fool for story, and so when I was given a small paperback of Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories, I have been reading them slowly, spacing them out as if they were nuggets of Godiva chocolate.
Last night there was “Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland,” this morning with breakfast “The Sojourner,” a poignant little piece in which John Ferris, businessman and world traveler, stops to visit his former wife Elizabeth and her family and is struck by the obvious joy and rightness of their lives. Though the story is flawless -- not a phrase or image too much or too little, no unfortunate slide into sentimentality -- and though at the end I was consumed with longing and melancholy, these are not why I am writing of it here.
No. What I felt at the end of this short piece was an overwhelming urge to caress the book itself with its flimsy cover, its pulp pages. If it hadn’t been so melodramatic, I would have clutched it to my breast and moaned. Now, I can’t imagine doing that with a Kindle.