I wonder if nostalgia may be the memory of something that never happened, a glimpsed world that never was. Or the lost and now inaccessible memories of fleeting moments? A desire and affinity for a world that never really was, but that you’d give your eye teeth to have known, or at least to have existed.
Laurie Lee ‘s semi-autobiography of growing up in the company of a sweet mother and fussing sisters in a bucolic, post-WWI England is all evoked with a poetry that comes naturally to him. To write like this, it had to have been real in its essence, flowering years later in the rich soil laid down by formative years of loving upbringing in a dependable, hopeful world.
It’s not all sweetness and light and, like all good things, Lee’s English idyll comes to an end with the passing of a particular generation and the arrival of motor vehicles––but there’s never any real trauma or disturbing ugliness, and the predominating atmosphere that we are invited to revel in is a childhood in timelessness countryside and the reassurance of family and home.
I’m sure that you will have your favourite book of this kind. For me, more than Gerald Durrell’s light-hearted “My Family and Other Animals,” this one tugs at the heartstrings. You can, I found, enjoy and share someone else’s nostalgia as if it were your own.