The Risks of Rereading

I really like this bit from Katherine Boo, taken from her interview for the New York Times Book Review’s “By the Book” series:

I was working my butt off trying to investigate the violent deaths of some homeless children, under circumstances that had been covered up by the police, when I reached the section of “2666” entitled “The Part About the Crimes.” It begins with a relentless, near-forensic account of corpses and injustices (closely based on the murders of poor women in Juarez) that opens out into this fevered exploration of both the psychological cost of paying attention to the tragedies of others and the social cost of looking away. That section of the book undid me so thoroughly that I’ll probably never reread it, even though I surely grasped only a sliver of what Bolaño was trying to say. And I suppose that’s the built-in sorrow of my life’s most profound encounters with books, beginning with “A Wrinkle in Time” in third grade. To reread what you loved most at a particular moment is to risk the possibility that you might love it less, and I want to keep my memories undegraded.

Stephen Schenkenberg @schenkenberg