Two years ago I was in New York, strolling along the Brooklyn Bridge, snapping photos, trying to capture this historic, marvelous structure. Not once, though, did I think of the Bridge as integral to immigrants. I relegated that honor to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge forced me to look anew. He added another twist to his play about undocumented Italian dock workers: no matter whether “legal” or not, we carry our own skewed sense of what it means to feel safe. Eddie’s fixation on Catherine becomes greater than any responsibility to offer sanctuary. What shapes a view from a crossing point? If only the bridges could talk.
In Copenhagen, I stand next to the bronze statue of Hans Christian Andersen whose fairy tales remain key childhood memories. My list of books to re-read in 2017 deal with memory.
- A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller. I recall a deep empathy; cannot remember why.
- Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury. A simple memory of summer and beautiful language.
- David Copperfield, Charles Dickens. Will David stay a favorite Dickens’ character?
- Enemy Women, Paulette Jiles. I loved this novel of women POWs during the Civil War.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Laura Numeroff. Hope I still smile page after page.
- King Lear, Shakespeare. The manipulative old man, stripped clean, fascinates me.
- Kristin Lavrandatter, Sigrid Undset. For years I’ve said “Someday I’ll read this again.”
- The Drowned and the Saved, Primo Levi. The camp’s water pipe remains unforgettable.
- The Lemon Tree, Sandy Tolan. I missed too much of the Palestinian-Israeli history the first time around.
- Thrall, Natasha Tretheway. I’ll make sure I have the art piece next to each poem.