Object, Gift, Memento

Candida Pugh in a September 2007 review (appearing in the Annex Gleaner) of Kyo Maclear’s The Letter Opener chooses to highlight the following:

Naiko’s mother languishes in a nursing home, slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s.

The journalist Kana, Naiko’s globe-trotting sister, rages at their mother’s collection of treasured objects, sneering, “I pity her. Imagine having to rely on possessions to tell yourself who you are.”

Naiko sees it differently: “I realized that the moment my mother showed indifference when everything she once owned was gone from her memory, I would know that the end was coming. The more sick she became, the less she would carry in her purse.”

There is another way to move through possession. What becomes of a person when they cease passing on objects as gifts? Objects sometimes hold more wishes than memories. The review captures this tension between past and future in its title and subtitle: “Self-defining possessions: When what we have becomes who we are”. This points to there being a time when what we become is who we are.

And so for day 467

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.