A rewarding philosophical essay on memory, language, love, and the passage of time, from a Greek immigrant who became one of Sweden’s most highly respected writers
“Nobody should write after the age of seventy-five,” a friend had said. At seventy-seven, struggling with the weight of writer’s block, Theodor Kallifatides makes the difficult decision to sell the Stockholm studio where he diligently worked for decades and retire. Unable to write, and yet unable to not write, he travels to his native Greece in the hope of rediscovering that lost fluidity of language.
In this slim memoir, Kallifatides explores the interplay of meaningful living and meaningful work, and the timeless question of how to reconcile oneself to aging. But he also comments on worrying trends in contemporary Europe—from religious intolerance and prejudice against immigrants to housing crises and gentrification—and his sadness at the battered state of his beloved Greece.
Kallifatides offers an eloquent, thought-provoking meditation on the writing life, and an author’s place in a changing world.