“At home, I lived in brightness.”
from People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
I’m near the end of the book, now. The chapters aren’t numbered, and they alternate between points of view of the present-day protagonist—a young woman who is an expert in conserving ancient manuscripts—and those of various people who have been involved in the history of a lavishly illustrated Hebrew manuscript through the centuries from its creation in 15th century Seville, through its history until its re-discovery in a museum vault in civil-war–torn Sarajevo in 1996. These are the “people of the book.”
Today’s snippet is the third sentence from the chapter describing the making of the illustrations by a talented artist, a North African, captured by a rival tribe and sold to a Moorish calligrapher in Seville. The calligrapher has been hired by the emir to create portraits of his wife, and assigns the slave to live with the emira. The girl, born free under the desert sun, now lives the (relatively) dark, cold life of a European slave.
“At home, I lived in brightness.” Such an expression of longing and loss!
What bits of your former life still have that kind of hold on you?