Hello, friends. I have nothing much to report right now, so I’m going to reprint a favorite post from last year. January is slow, slow, slow (and gray, gray, gray) – although I am meeting up with friends tomorrow to view a calligraphy exhibition …
Tonight I witnessed a blatant display of hero worship directed towards Norwegian literary sensation, Karl Ove Knausgaard. And I shamelessly admit that I was one of the disciples. Well, sort of. When I learned that he was giving a reading tonight at the English-language bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, I jumped on the metro and headed over. The crowd was large.
The gatekeepers at the door (below) told me it was standing room only. Seeing as it was only 6:20 pm and Knausgard wouldn’t be appearing until 7, I chose to wait outside. I’m too restless to stand in a crowd for 40 minutes. I must say that the staff at Shakespeare and Company are very professional and courteous. It’s an old, atmospheric, cozy bookstore oozing with history … and books! Everyone was reading, it was great to see.
Chairs and an audio system had been set up outside.
With 40 minutes to kill, I walked around the block and took some photographs. When I came back to the bookstore it was 7 pm. We waited and waited, and then at 7:20 pm I looked up and saw our literary hero standing at the window on the second floor. He was smoking and talking with someone. Knausgard is a chain-smoker and, evidently, not a punctual man. He seemed oblivious to the crowd below.
He finally came down to begin reading from his newest, yet-to-be-published book. Here he is, blurry, in the background. The outdoor crowd sat motionless while listening to his voice over the speaker system.
I felt like I had stumbled across a cult gathering or a group of followers devoted to a preacher, a prophet or spiritual leader. Or a Norse mythic hero.
Later, as I walked back to the metro station, I thought to myself – Geez, is it any wonder we need heros today more than ever?
I recommend these articles that I really enjoyed. They’re called Passage through America –