Burning Books

I have a piece in the latest London Review of Books. This is how it begins:

I began burning books during my third year in China. The first book I burned was called A Swedish Gospel Singer. On the cover there was a drawing of a blonde girl wearing a crucifix with her mouth wide open and musical notes floating out of it. Inside was a story, written in simple English, about a Swedish girl who loved to sing. One day, passing a church, she heard a wonderful sound. When she went in, the congregation welcomed her and asked her to join their gospel choir. Through these songs she learned about Jesus, his compassion, his sacrifice, the love he feels for all.

It was originally longer, and took in all kinds of other personal stuff, but I think they kept the core. There’s no better cure for one’s tendency to be precious than having a thousand words just cut.

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One response

  1. I picked up my parents’ LRB while I was in the bathroom and started reading the article because it looked short. I got to the bottom of the first column and only then looked to see who had written it. By the end, it probably didn’t need to have your name. You got so much into half a page.

    See you at the GH tomorrow?

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