Have you ever relocated to a place a long way from that you consider home, that place where your friends and family remain? Have you done so with some hope for a better future? Has it happened that the move was accomplished with fewer resources than would have made the move much easier, or at the very least, where greater resources—wealth—might have made that transition much easier? Have you noticed that you notice everything? Has it occurred to you that the worst part about a move like that was the, at times, crushing loneliness?
There’s something about Bove’s My Friends that may (likely, will) strike some readers as familiar—the bungled, missed opportunities in pursuit of intimacy of the most basic sort. It seems somehow appropriate that Colette was one of Bove’s champions, with his brief exposition on loneliness, his feel is familiar. Melancholy, but not overwhelming. What Hamsun does for hunger, Bove does for friendship—two urges so basic, so primal, they dominate one’s awareness. Poverty and physical disfigurement contribute to the alienation, and yet never dim hope.
Passing (Victor) Bâton on without reservation. 4.5 stars, rounded up, for its incredible eye toward the detail of ‘withoutedness.’ (Hell yeah! My word. You don’t like it? Don’t use it)
(FYI: this is NOT a book about Moving)