The OF Blog: A brief reminder why re-reads can be so important for a reader to do

Saturday, May 03, 2014

A brief reminder why re-reads can be so important for a reader to do

I frequently re-read, or perhaps read again is a more apt descriptor, as no two reads are ever really the same for me.  Sometimes, especially after a couple of years or more has passed, the stories may gain new depths or lose whatever pretensions to depth that they might have once possessed.  Or perhaps certain elements just end up meaning more than before.

This certainly was the case this past week when I re-read (and read for the first time in its original Serbian) Danilo Kiš's  Early Sorrows, which I first read and reviewed briefly in 2012.  I noted then some of the poignant stories, but this time around, having to read much more slowly than usual in order to compare the translation to the original (I am surprised by how much of the language I have retained over the years).  The stories that moved me then still move me, perhaps even more so than before.  Yet there were tales that I had given short shrift to two years ago which meant more to me now, stories like "A Story That Will Make You Blush" and "Engaged to be Married."  I also noticed how intricately Kiš connected these tales, as certain motifs from one appear in another, yet it isn't until toward the end that the commonalities can really be seen.

Perhaps I will have more to say on this in the future.  For right now, I find myself thinking in a haze, the past and the present commingling, creating something different and strange to behold...

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