Thursday, November 7, 2013

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

 When we killed or exiled God, we also killed ourselves. Did we noticed that sufficiently at the time? No God, no afterlife, no us. We were right to kill him, of course, this long-standing imaginary friend of ours. And we weren't going to get an afterlife anyway. But we sawed off the branch that we were sitting on. And the view from there, from that height, even if it was only the illusion of the view, wasn't so bad.

After a few months, I began to brave public places and go out to a play, a concert, an opera. But I found that I developed a terror of the foyer. Not of the space itself, but what it contained: cheerful, expectant, normal people looking forward to enjoying themselves. I couldn't bear the noise and the look of placid normality: just more busloads of people indifferent to my wife's dying.

I told one of the few Christians I know that she was seriously ill. He replied that he would pray for her. I didn't object, but shockingly soon found myself informing him, not without bitterness, that his God didn't seem to have been very effective.

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