However despite that rather dubious recommendation Matt Haig (best know for Reasons to stay Alive) has actually something quite original thing. It is light, romantic, partly historical fiction, which is rarely demanding, and very enjoyable, and is nonetheless a serious reflection on that same theme of how do we live. It is a work of philosophy in the guise of light fiction.
“Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.”
“And, just as it only takes a moment to die, it only takes a moment to live. You just close your eyes and let every futile fear slip away. And then, in this new state, free from fear, you ask yourself: who am I? If I could live without doubt what would I do? If I could be kind without the fear of being fucked over? If I could love without fear of being hurt? If I could taste the sweetness of today without thinking of how I will miss that taste tomorrow? If I could not fear the passing of time and the people it will steal? Yes. What would I do? Who would I care for? What battle would I fight? Which paths would I step down? What joys would I allow myself? What internal mysteries would I solve? How, in short, would I live?”
“A problem with living in the twenty-first century….. we are made to feel poor on thirty thousand pounds a year. To feel poorly travelled if we have only been to ten other countries. To feel old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photo shopped and filtered.”
“Montaigne said that the point of life is to give yourself to yourself. I am trying.”
“Nothing fixes a thing so firmly in the memory as the wish to forget it”
“There comes a time when the only way to start living is to tell the truth. To be who you really are, even if it is dangerous.”