There is something wonderful, even sacred, about finishing a book. My preference is that it be late at night, later, perhaps, than I should be awake, and that everyone else in the house be asleep. I should be in bed, the book and bed illuminated by a single lamp. It should be silent, but I had not noticed the silence, as absorbed in the pages as I had been. Then, I turn the last page, I slow my pace, lingering, savoring the last paragraph as the last bite of an ice cream cone. Close the book, lay it on my chest and…
Well, if you don’t know what I mean, my explanation isn’t going to make any sense, and if you do understand I don’t have to tell you. But there is a shock of coming to the end of something that has totally absorbed you, a realization of reality, but a new perspective on that reality. You return to the world, but you return to it changed. Even a bad book can have this effect, but, Oh, Lord, the good ones.
Last night I finished The Brothers Karamazov.
In my bed, lit by a single lamp, the rest of the house long asleep.
The house was silent. I closed the book, laid it on my chest.
And was suddenly in the deepest, truest prayer I had been in in months.
You see how I can’t write about “how” or “why,” or even explain what it means to be met, to meet yourself, at the end of a book. But if you know, you know.
And about The Brothers K.
Read it. That’s all.