I've been ferociously reading The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro over the past day or so, staying up late, stealing reading breaks like smoke breaks, walking by the river on a brisk morning. I'm not finished yet, but it is easily the best I've read in a while. I feel like I have steadily been forcing myself to expect less from books. I recently read Salman Rushdie's Enchantress of Florence and I felt a vague urge to vomit at the saccharine fusion of just-so story and excessive historicism. At the same time, I thought that I had to still acknowledge some kind of greatness lingering in it. Like never being able to stay angry at red wine. This new book is different. Different first because it isn't all that new. Different also because it's so convincing as a performance, as a seamless whole. It's rare that you are so drawn into a work that you don't at some point find yourself looking around for the author. It is through some lull in the work that the listener looks to the storyteller and certain sense of predictability sets in. This one is so enthralling that anything seems plausible.
On the topic of excursions long overdue, I've been thinking a lot about Berlin. I'm looking forward to going back in the not too distant future. It is one of a handful of places I have visited that I feel like I really connected with. At some point over the few days that I wandered aimlessly I was handed an invitation that I was only recently able to accept. Barring some minor logistics, all I need is to find a boss to foot the bill for the gas.