A River Trip

–after River by Esther Kinsky

A middle-aged German woman
lives on the outskirts of London.
It’s an unattractive area and
she knows no one. Eventually,
she befriends the storekeepers
in her neighborhood. Mostly she
walks the tributaries of the great
river. She loves taking pictures with
her Polaroid camera. I, too, once had
a Polaroid I was fond of. I read
the first chapters ecstatically
on a flight across country to
meet my new granddaughter. On my
return flight, picking up where
I left off, the book had suddenly
hit the doldrums. Who changed?
The author? the reader? Perhaps
the novel’s milieu didn’t reward
the woman’s explorations with
any intimacy. In any case, my
interest returned and I finished
the book. Every once in a while
I wonder–where did the passion go?
I think I know.

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