Ishmael: A Novel. By Daniel Quinn (1935-2018). Bantam Trade Paperback Edition, 1995.
In a word: eclectic. My reading eyes have always been much, much bigger than my stomach.
Maybe omnivore is a more fitting term because I graze pages from all kinds of pulp: fiction and non-fiction, literary and women’s. Thrillers and mysteries of course give me the ‘chills’, and science writing, cookbooks, and memoir feed my too oft famished soul.
What really gets me, though, are those decades old tomes, that timeless writing that transcends people and place, politics and publisher, bearing a message that’s always urgent, no matter the recipient.
When my sixteen-year-old lifted a well-worn copy of Ishmael: A Novel from his equally worn backpack and slid it toward me, all but smiling, I knew.
I knew I would treasure the volume. I knew I would love every word. I knew this book was “the one.”
Page one, paragraph one, line one:
TEACHER SEEKS PUPIL.
Must have an earnest desire to save the world.
Apply in person.
All the feels, yes, I’ve got them. An ageless yearning to apply, yes, I’ve sheepishly got that too. A deep belief that though the world may always need saviors, my son’s generation may just be the closest we’ve ever come, yes, that as well stirs within.
So, I #amreading. Always. But this book I hold a little more dear. Because it was passed on to me – son to mother – by a kid, one among so very many, this one my own, who gives me hope that just maybe the world really is worth saving.
“In the theatre of the mind,” writes one reviewer, “I can’t decide if Ishmael is voiced by James Earl Jones or Anthony Hopkins.” I can’t say either, but I’m listening out for Judi Dench or Emma Thompson. Because: Why not?