It's Getting Later All the Time
Open letter to Antonio Tabucchi upon reading 'It's Getting Later All the Time', a novel in eighteen letters. (See also 'Pereira Maintains' and 'Requiem')
My Dear AntonioWe have spent a lot of time together in the past few months, time that was precious to me for the most part. We walked Lisbon together, drank lemonade at the Café Orquieda or so the truly excellent Pereira maintains. I followed you
llowed you faithfully back and forth, through narrow alley ways and dark courtyards as you composed your delightful Requiem. Thank you for that. Ever loyal, I made my way, albeit with increasing difficulty, through the seventeen long and gloomy corridors of your memory as you pondered on the trifles that nevertheless cause things to happen. Occasionally you relieved this tedious journey with one or two sun filled corners but as you say yourself, It's Getting Later All The Time and for me as well as for you. What I am trying to say, my dear Antonio, is that if any more of your mental peregrinations are offered for my perusal, I will reply, like Bartleby, that I would prefer not to. I've had enough of what you so lucidly describe elsewhere as your useless remorse, your belated understandings, your treacherous memories. Would that such lucidity had been called into play in this volume. The seventeen letters could have been summed up so easily in the brief but eloquent words of that old Neapolitan song you quoted on page 197: "I want you, I seek you, I call you, I see you, I hear you, I dream of you," and a lot of paper and ink could then have been saved. I will finish now and not burden you with the much longer unwritten letter I composed earlier. You should take a leaf out of my book, Antonio.
Goodbye, my former friend, we will not meet again.