BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I SAT DOWN AND WEPT
BY ELIZABETH SMART
This classic work of poetic prose about living for love has to be the perfect inimitable read for February and a wonderful Wild Card alternative for book clubs. Elizabeth Smart records her obsessional and passionate love affair with George Barker, whose writing she fell in love with after reading one of his poems in a book shop.
Elizabeth begins her affair with George after inviting him and his wife to California. The book transcends through her transforming emotions as their affair continues. This is not a book to be read for its storyline, it’s a book to be read for the remarkable, urgent, sensual, language revolving round the all-consuming love the writer feels.
The writing is intoxicating as mundane life takes a back seat to the uncontrollable love the writer feels for this man. Even when Elizabeth and George are arrested at the border, she is unable to reign in her feelings to help her situation, but rather when asked what relationship this man is to her she replies 'My Beloved is mine and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies' – such language merely making the guards’ treatment of her tougher.
The couple never married but continued their relationship and had four children together. Elizabeth recognises that their passion is special “I look homeward now and melt, for though I am crowned and anointed with love and have obtained from life all I asked, what am I as I enter my parents’ house but another prodigal daughter?”
If you are in the mood for a poetic love masterclass, rich in its language and imagery, then this extraordinary love affair makes the perfect February Wild Card read and will certainly liven up your book club discussions.