The joy of love (From Sunset Park, by Paul Auster)

I have seldom read a more joyous paean to love – and the agony, too – than this passage from the novel Sunset Park by Paul Auster, set in America after the housing crisis.

Ivy League dropout Miles Heller falls in love with Pilar Sanchez, a few months under 18, when they see each other at a park in Florida reading the same edition of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. This passage describes their reunion in New York. Read the third par. It’s just one sentence – a long breathless rush of words describing the joy of being with the one you love. Exuberant, unabashed, uninhibited, it is absolutely gorgeous.

It was the best thing that could have happened to him. It was the worst thing that could have happened to him. Eleven days with Pilar in New York, and then the agony of putting her on the bus back to Florida.

One thing is certain, however. He loves her more than any other person on this earth, and he will go on loving her until the day he stops breathing.

The joy of looking at her face again, the joy of holding her again, the joy of listening to her laugh again, the joy of hearing her voice again, the joy of watching her eat again, the joy of looking at her hands again, the joy of looking at her naked body again, the joy of touching her naked body again, the joy of kissing her naked body again, the joy of watching her frown again, the joy of watching her brush her hair again, the joy of watching her paint her nails again, the joy of standing in the shower with her again, the joy of talking to her about books again, the joy of watching her eyes well up with tears again, the joy of watching her walk again, the joy of listening to her insult Angela again, the joy of reading out loud to her again, the joy of listening to her burp again, the joy of watching her brush her teeth again, the joy of undressing her again, the joy of putting his mouth against her mouth again, the joy of looking at her neck again, the joy of walking down the street with her again, the joy of putting his arms around her shoulders again, the joy of licking her breasts again, the joy of entering her body again, the joy of waking up beside her again, the joy of discussing math with her again, the joy of buying clothes for her again, the joy of giving and receiving back rubs again, the joy of talking about the future again, the joy of living in the present with her again, the joy of being told she loves him again, the joy of telling her he loves her again, the joy of living under the gaze of her fierce dark eyes again, and then the agony of watching her board the bus at the Port Authority terminal on the afternoon of January third with the certain knowledge that it will not be until April, more than three months from now, that he will have a chance to be with her again.

NYC - Port Authority Bus Terminal

I loved it, but still prefer Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies, which ends in New York with the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre. The Brooklyn Follies is pure magic while Sunset Park has its magic moments.

Sunset Park by Paul Auster. Reviewed in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Amazon.com.

Author: Abhijit

Abhijit loves reading and writing.

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