Friday, September 12, 2008

One thing I like about novels is time travel. In "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway, about Americans in Europe in the twenties and written at the time, a character arrive in Paris from New York and tells people, "There had been a grand theatrical season and a whole crop of great young light heavyweights. Any one of them was a good prospect to grow up, put on weight and trim Dempsey."

Same person raving to his avant garde arty friends about the theatre and boxing--not anymore.

In Jane Austen, when some people want to get a message to someone in London, they ask a friend who is riding there on a horse to take it.

In "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiel Hammet when the detective wants to figure out when the bad guys arrived, he looks at the long list of daily arrival of passenger ships in San Francisc. I read that and knew in a way I hadn't really felt before that all those piers that people keep brainstorming about how to use along the Embarcadero were hopping like an airport once.