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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: All That I Am by Anna Funder

(Author Anna Funder)

As part of the Sneaky Peeky Sunday here at The Book Worm, here is the page from the book 'All 
That I Am' by Anna Funder. 

'.........No. No, I haven't.' She swivels, placing a stray curl of dark hair behind her ear.

 'Good. Good, good.'

 She laughs - Clara has a PhD from Frankfurt and a fine mind and can afford lavish self-deprecation. 'It's not good!'

 'No, it is.'

 She tilts her face to me, the freckles strewn across it as a random and perfect as a constellation.

 'Because I'm going to be making some changes.'

 She waits.

 'It's incomplete.'

 'I should hope so.'

 'No. Not updates. Someone I left out.'

 My memoir is subtly, shamefully self-aggrandising. I put myself at the centre of everything; I never admitted any doubts or fear. (I was cunning, though, telling of isolated childhood cruelties and adult rashness, to give the illusion - not least to myself - of full disclosure.) I left my love out, and now she is nowhere. I want to see whether, at this late stage of the game, honesty is possible for me.

 When I open the book in my lap its pages stand up like a fan, held tight to a midpoint. The National Socialists took my diaries - probably burnt them on their pyres as well. I must work from memory.

 The girl sits down at the table, side-on to me. Clara Bergdorf has been working with me for five weeks. She is a rare soul, with whom silences of whole minutes are calm. The time is neither empty, nor full of anticipatory pressure. It expands. It makes room for things to return, to fill my empty heart.

 I light a cigar and leave it smoking in the ashtray. 'We'll start with the introduction. Add this dedication at the end.' I clear my throat. 'I call to mind a woman, to whose courageous act I owe the....'


- Debolina Raja Gupta