Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deja Vu - "The Historian - E. Kostova"

"...The very young traveller knows little of this phenomenon, but before i knew it in myself, I saw it in my father, at Saint-Mattheiu der Pyrenees. I sensed in him, rather than read clearly, the mystery of repetition, already knowing he had been there years before. And, oddly, this place drew him into abstraction in a way no other we'd visited had done. He had been to the region of Emona once before our visit, and to Ragusa several times. He had visited Massimo and Giulia's stone villa for other happy suppers in other years. But at Saint Mattheiu I sensed that he had actually longed for this place, thought it through over and over for some reason I could not excavate, relieved it without telling anyone. He did not tell me now except to recognize aloud the curve of the road before it finally ran up against the abbey wall, and to know, later, which door opened into sanctuary, cloister or finally crypt. This memory for detail was nothing new to me; I had seen him reach for the right door in famous old churches before, or take the correct trun to the ancient refectory, or stop to buy tickets at the right guardhouse in the right shady gravel drive or recall even where he had previously had the finest cup of coffee

The difference at Saint-Mattheiu was a difference of alertness, an almost cursory scanning of walls and cloistered walkaways. Instead of seeming to say to himself," Ah there's that fine tympanum above the doors; I thought I remembered it was on this side", my father appeared to be checking off views he could already have described with his eyes closed. It came over me gradually, even before we had finished climbing the steep, cypress-shaded grounds to the main entrance, that what he remembered here were not architectural details, but events... "

- taken from "The Historian" By Elizabeth Kostova

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