Monday, 18 June 2012

Quoth the Scotsman | Tom Pollock on The City & The City

A couple of caveats to bear in mind before we start. Unless otherwise indicated, none of the quotes quoted in the following post are representative of the beliefs of the person in question quoted nor those of the person quoting the person in question. Additionally, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

In short, Quoth the Scotsman is just a space here on TSS for me to post neat quotes as and when I come across them. Simple. As. That.


I'm a country mouse, I suppose.

(As opposed to a city mouse, I mean.)

I certainly haven't lived long-term in a city, though oddly - or perhaps not - I've holidayed in a great many, across the UK, Europe and North America. Most always, I've enjoyed the experience. Sometimes, I've even wished I could stay a little longer. But I've never wanted that to be the new norm. To be able to come home, to the peace and the quiet, to the flora and the fauna, to the sizable apartment I can only afford because frankly, it's a bit out there... that means the world to me.

Maybe it's indoctrination. Maybe I'm a country mouse in my old age because that's the way and the where I was raised. Truth be told, I don't know, but it's perfectly possible. There are certain perks to a life in the cityside that I'm desperately envious of, mostly involving food: namely the nearness of vegetarian restaurants and takeaways.

But I bet you city mice feel the exact same way: that you wouldn't trade your day-to-day for anything... though perhaps there are a few things you wish you could change? A few sacrifices that must, alas, be made.

Apropos of which, last week I was reading The City's Son by Tom Pollock, and quite aside from its awesome monsters and pretty prose, a short section specifically struck me. 

The following excerpt, then, forms part of one of the most convincing arguments I've heard in favour of city living.
"Our memories are like a city: we tear some structures down, and we use rubble of the old to raise up new ones. Some memories are bright glass, blindingly beautiful when they catch the sun, but then there are the darker days, when they reflect only the crumbling walls of their derelict neighbours. Some memories are buried under years of patient construction; their echoing halls may never again be seen or walked down, but still they are the foundations for everything that stands above them.
"Glas told me once that that's what people are, mostly: memories, the memories in their own heads, and the memories of them in other people's. And if memories are like a city, and we are our memories, then we are like cities too. I've always taken comfort in that." (p.276)
Isn't that a lovely idea? And I would wager there's some real truth to it, too.

Tom Pollock's tremendous debut is still a fair ways off from its publication date, I'm afraid. You won't be able to buy it in the UK until August, or September in the States, so I'm going to hold off on posting my full review till it's rather more relevant.

But do stayed tuned. I assure you, The City's Son will be worth the wait. Plus, I'll be blogging about the book at least once more in advance of my review and its release ...

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