Stop Looking


On Thursday, a family visited the shop on their way home to Sydney. They said they had no room in their car for more books. They look very happy. They are mum, dad – they had difficulty walking and their daughter, one of their daughters, that is, and she has difficulties with having too many books. They are so happy together. The mother and daughter clutched each other every time they discovered another book. The mother is reading China Mieville. I said: here, I’ll show you a picture of China Mieville. The mother look hard at this science fiction writer and said – well I definitely want to read him then, don’t I, I do like all things difficult. Her daughter colluded: that’s true, she does.

Then they had to search through bags and pockets for the money.
They joined hands briefly, anxiously searching.
They were all so bright. Their glasses were imperial purple and emerald green. They had everything bright. The man joined them from another room and they said ecstatically: look father’s joining in. Good on you Leon. They commanded him to find his wallet. He looked at me and his face was alive with happiness. He said: look at me saddled with this for a family.

He was carrying Arthur Upfield and Peter O’Donnell and walking carefully, being saddled with such a family and everything.
I could buy more
Couldn’t we all.
I’m having a last go.
Did you find the money?
And they all continued round again, glowing, satisfied, filling their car that was already too full. Leon wore a cherry red jumper and I wondered who made it for him, probably knitting and reading a book at the same time.
I have made a library. The daughter told me about a library she has made at home now that her adult children are moving out. She said it is glorious.
They pay for their books: China Mieville, Robert Jordan, Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, Arthur Upfield, Peter O’Donnell, Jean Auel and finally a copy of Pinocchio. They pack them in a large bag covered in black and gold and orange triangles and with orange and green handles.
Come on then. They need to urge each other out of the door.
Stop looking
You stop looking.
They held on to each other to get out of the door, Leon carried all the books and off they went, all saddled together.


china_mieville.jpg  China Mieville

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