September 23rd 2016

Fredrik Backman’s book, A Man Called Ove, is funny! But beyond amusing, Backman expresses emotions in ways that are unique, inventive, rare, raw and piercing. The depth of his savvy impresses me as I read, having tried so many times to express the utter misery I experienced when everything I put into Starboard at Midnight was stolen and turned inside out. Believing Backman won’t mind, I quote his sentences here: “And she wept. An ancient, inconsolable despair that screamed and tore and shredded them both as the hours passed. Time and sorrow and fury flowed together in stark, long-drawn darkness. Ove knew that he would never forgive himself. . . and that his pain was forever.” . . . I knew when I read Titanic the Tennis Story that I had made a grave mistake to trust in the rightness of the world as I brought my grandfather’s life to light. Because now, and then, he is and was–portrayed in a sham book at Barnes and Noble stores–drawn in a dim shadow, misquoted, misrepresented, and ridiculed. Set up by sensationalists to be learned about incorrectly by young minds across the country who read, or would in the future read the WRONG story. My sister’s words have rung in my ears ever since: “What did you expect?” There is no means now; no way for me to apologize to my grandfather. No avenue to make things right in the end. Maybe after I die? Maybe then? I want to tell him how sorry I am. I need him to try to forgive me. Maybe he’d look at me with a smile and make me laugh and say that a man’s reputation means very little after all. But I witness monuments and masterpieces, manifestos and manifestations, and I find it impossible to believe that! Don’t you?! Five years have done nothing to ease the misery of this. I just go on.