rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is exhilarating. I wish there were more 64-page books on the world packed as densely as this. Composed as a journal written over a week while walking from Munich to Paris, convinced that an ailing friend will hang til he gets there, Of Walking in Ice does not seek to make a grand statement; instead it is an act of contrition, one in which bears witness to the unending flow of statements the world makes rather than making his own.
The narrative flits from one thing to the next just with as little sentimentality as possible. While reading this, you walk through your own life with the same wide eyes, finding profundity in the facts, without romanticizing the minor act of recognizing those facts. You will also read your life in Werner's voice. Just as Werner was breaking into yet another vacation cabin for shelter, a woman came up to the bench where was sitting to ask if I could open her Coke bottle for her. "It's senior-proof," she said. Then the clock tower near us boomed its noon bells. And so on...
Road books always put me in the mind of casting my life as a purposed journey, but this is one of the first to remind me to not dwell too much on each incident but to let it sit empirically profound on it's own terms, because there is another just up ahead.
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