As a lover? Well, obviously not as energetic and inexhaustible as Jeremy. And though Tony was in good shape for his age, I was a little put out first time to see what fifty-four years could do to a body. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, bending to remove a sock. His poor naked foot looked like a worn-out shoe. I saw folds of flesh in improbable places, even under his arms. How strange, that in my surprise, quickly suppressed, it didn’t occur to me that I was looking at my own future. I was twenty-one. What I took to be the norm–taut, smooth, supple–was the transient special case of youth. To me, the old were a separate species, like sparrows or foxes. And now, what I would give to be fifty-four again! The body’s oldest organ bears the brunt–the old no longer fit their skin.
–Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan
Really quite enjoyed the book, the milieu (“the post-60s England of strikes, bomb blasts, oil crises, cold war escalation, ideological grandstanding and generally impending anarchy….”)…
… and for some reason (perhaps an impending 54th birthday?), I absolutely love the passage quoted above.
Three posts today!
2 thoughts on ““The transient special case of youth””
But you are a very young looking 54! Will try to read this one. McEwan’s great. Read Julian Barnes “Sense of an Ending,” over the summer. Another good one.
Thanks Jacob. I do think my feet at least are holding up. I just checked “Amsterdam” and “Saturday” out of the library, so might be going on something of a McEwan tear.