|photo credit: C.M., 2008|
What if books were spirits, with fears, yearnings, longings, and desires? "Moths of the New World" (the Guardian, November 7, 2011) - a fantastical, funny, and oddly appealing short story by one of my favorite authors, Audrey Niffenegger - explores exactly that. In it, Moths of the New World, a rare and exquisite book, has gone missing from The Library's collection. A Librarian (also a spirit) is sent out into the real world (the City of Chicago) to retrieve her. He finds her holding hands with Workers, Arise!.... an organizing pamphlet! (*gasp*). Will she stay... or will she go home?
Though the short story doesn't have quite the sophistication and polish of her novels (both The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry are among my very favorite books), this imaginative supernatural concept is charmingly and wittily carried out. There is something lovely and ethereal about the idea of a woman emerging from a book and disappearing back into it, and a great deal of humor in her falling in with a "bad boy" labor pamphlet of a boyfriend. The story also winks at the current-day literary/publishing world:
"More time went by. Moths of the New World wondered if anyone at the Library knew she was gone. For the first time, she wished she had been a bestseller."
It's a story well worth enjoying for the bookish creativity, or just a delightful little dose of Audrey Niffenegger, in case you (like me) have been missing her.