Such a wonderful story. Stories such as this are what make the BASS so great. I remember reading this the first time several months ago and finding it captivating, but after the second reading, so much more. Loss, love, introspection, heartache, longing, memories, and rebirth. Perfect ingredients leading to a wonderful dish.
Solotaroff takes us to
There are so many aspects of this story that I can connect with.
First, and the most powerful, being the death of Wallich’s family(wife and son).
I tend to think a lot about the death of my loved ones. I think hard and long on how I would deal with my wife’s sudden death. It brings me near, if not to tears, sometimes when I play out various scenarios.
I don’t know why I do this...have these thoughts. I just don’t know what I’d do without her. I have often thought about how I would live my life if she was suddenly taken from me. How would I behave? Would I retreat? Explode? Go insane?
Running away to the mountains such as the Wallich did, is something that I could easily see myself doing. My family would make every effort to keep me close, but I think that I would need this time alone. Helprin taps into a strong emotional vein and I am drawn into the story.
Second, life in a small village at the base of the mountain. Man, I’ve been there. I know how it feels to have the entire village know what you ate for dinner. I know.
Finally, the intense physical preparation that is made for Wallich’s climb up the Schreuderspitze. The past 2 years, I have spent pushing my body harder further and faster. I’ve felt the muscle soreness, the pain in my lungs. I feel that I am at the peak of my physical condition. I only plan to go further.
“The small things, the gentle things, the good things he loved, and the flow of love itself were dead for him and would always be, unless he could liberate them in a crucible of high drama.”
Dealing with death. I am afraid...I know I will have to face it and I respect it.
In closing, I think that I have settled down into reading and writing for these reports. I am not trying to burn through the years. I’m taking the stories as they come.
Score...10 out of 10. Mr. Helprin, you produced a wonderful story. Thank you.