Strong, Jonathan. “Quit the Race”, Pressed Wafer, 2017.
The Nature of Love
When I was younger I did not give any thought as to how I would spend the later years of my life. Looking back now, I realize that I did not think about this because I simply did not want to accept the fact that one day I would get old and so I pushed that from my memory. Now that I have reached that point, I tend to avoid the subject once again because to think about it mans that I accept the fact that I am in the twilight of my life and that I just might not wake up tomorrow.
Sean and Joel are partners and have been so for many years. This is the story of the later years of their long-term relationship. The time has come for them to consider how they will spend the final years of their lives and they begin to balance the relationship against how each can live the kind of life that he wants knowing that there is not a lot of time left to do so. Rereading that sentence, I realize that it sounds depressing and this is not a depressing book, rather, it is intensely profound.. All too often we tend to push reality to the side so that the here and now is a time of enjoyment. The two men have created their own family and, basically, their own world and this is challenged by the reality of age and time. I fell in love with the sentence that begins, “Suddenly it was several years later…”
There is something very lyrical in looking at a life and evaluating it. Certainly it is not easy to write about a subject such as again because to do so means that we acknowledge that it is happening. In writing about Sean and Joel, writer Strong looks at his own life and the nature of love and compromise as well as man’s natural desire to connect with others while still maintaining an independent identity and control of oneself. I found myself asking when is it time to “quit the race” and how do I do so in the best possible way. I found myself thinking of a line from a poem by Merrit Malloy that I find to be extremely comforting, “Love doesn’t die, people do”. This is how I see “Quit the Race” and without going into detail about what happens in the novel, I prefer to think that love is truly what is there at the end of life. Revisiting the past can be painful but it does give us the idea of who we are and how we got there. There are some of you who will tell me that this is not a review of the book but rather a serious of sentences about again. Yes, that is what this but it is also meant to be a push to get you to read this book that so beautifully deals with that subject. It is an intimate look at a subject we all have to face.