This was a powerful, yet emotive story about Tony who thought, for over sixty years, he’d been going along in life pretty much without a care in the world. One day, one unexpected piece of mail forces him to reflect on the section of his life he thought he’d left alone.
A significant aspect of Tony’s story is when he realized how much his kneejerk adolescent response to the matter was and how he maturely registered some of his responsiblity to the matter, yet to me it remains questionable. Based upon his account, who would have known? But it was delicate information enough not to question and that’s maturity. Life can really sort various things out for you.
The theme was memory. Our deduction of what we see in life at the time vs. what we wish to take as the mere fact of what really happened. Perhaps I can’t state it as eloquently as his friend Adrian, but that was the point. This story was Tony’s entire take on his life. Completely by accident, an actually stunning opportunity was presented. I was marveled by his reflection.
We follow him in his quest for understanding and it unfolds so beautifully among dry, sardonic wit within Barnes’ lushious language. Tony is real. His adolescence is even understandable, so is his overall lifetime analysis.
Life’s not always pretty. We can paint it so, but this piece reminds us that the glaze doesn’t always remain.
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