The library of a cruiseliner is likely one of the less frequented locations of the ship, and yet I found myself pleasantly surprised by the offerings on my boat this past week.
One book I picked up was the hefty hardcover of Richard Russo’s Bridge of Sighs, which was entirely too large to have crammed into my carryon luggage, but which—with its large multigenerational cast and roving perspective—was the perfect big, immersive book for vacation reading. I zoomed through it during a few poolside sunning sessions and one incredible afternoon on a white sand beach in Grand Cayman. And, I’ll admit, I cried in my lounge chair through the last few pages as a group of early morning revelers watched me suspiciously in between sips of their 10 a.m.-Bud Lights.
In the few days since I finished it, I still have some of Russo’s robust characters and quotes haunting my head. As I unpack, I thought I’d share this snippet:
What I discovered I liked best about striking out now on my bicycle was that the farther I got from home, the most interesting and unusual my thoughts became. I discovered I could think things in a new landscape that never would have occurred to me at home or in my own well-traveled neighborhood. … But also this: If setting out into the unknown was thrilling, so, in a different but equally strange way, was coming back.
(Russo, Richard. Bridge of Sighs. New York: Knopf, 2007. 67-8.)
So, even if it’s been a bit of a shock to have swapped the sun of the Caribbean for a still-snowy mess of New York, I know this for sure: one of the best parts about leaving is coming home.