Right at the top of the list for the latter category is Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, which is also one of my favourite books for any time. It’s a nice, bitter little volume and the literary equivalent of listening to depressing music when you’re already depressed or going out for a drink with someone whose life is just as shite as yours.
“I wrote at the start that this was a record of hate, and walking there beside
Henry towards the evening glass of beer, I found the one prayer that seemed to
serve the winter mood: Oh God. You’ve done enough. You’ve robbed me of enough,
I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone forever.”
Greene’s prose is so lovely and so emotive I often find myself stuck with a quote from this book in my head, or mooching along in the cold, imagining myself as the book’s protagonist in a long overcoat.I’ve tried to write this sort of stuff when I’m quite depressed myself or when things aren’t going well but it never works out - I seem to spiral into self pity and get nothing done but clocking up a lot of couch time. I just don’t know Greene did it and I’m struck down with serious envy.
“I sat with the telephone receiver in my hand and I looked at hate like an ugly
and foolish man whom one does not want to know. I dialled her number. I must
have caught her before she had time to leave the telephone and said: ‘Sarah,
tomorrow’s all right, I’d forgotten something. Same place. Same time. And
sitting there, my fingers on the quiet instrument, with something to look
forward to, I thought to myself: I remember. This is what hope feels like.”
Anyway, enough of the jealousy - what about you guys? Anything particular that you reach for in time of crisis?