When I listen to Bach, I seem to turn into a fish'. - Bach (Pau) in Love.
'We forget because we want to live. We forget because we live in hope for a better life. It's this wretched hope that demands that we forget the unforgettable'. - The Last Smile of Graf Tolstoy.
These stories explore the nature of love, loss and memory: central to them is the uneasiness the narrators feel about their place in the world. A critical moment in the life of each narrator illuminates these themes in remarkable ways. For instance, in the story 'Walter Benjamin's Pipe' the narrator wants to comprehend that critical moment when Walter Benjamin, the famous Jewish-German philosopher and literary critic, decided to end his life. In the story 'Bach (Pau) in Love,' the famous Catalan cellist Pablo Casals imagines the situation which would have inspired Bach to compose his six suites for cello. In the story 'Anna and Fyodor in Basel,' Anna, Fyodor Dostoevsky's wife waits for that moment when Holbein's famous painting about the dead Christ makes its appearance in the novel The Idiot. In 'The Quartz Hill,' a Cantonese photographer looks at the prints of Paddy Bedford's paintings about the Bedford Downs massacre and decides to visit Halls Creek in search for her Gija grandmother's roots.