Missive From Morocco
Forever ago, I sent a pile of books to my niece Rachel, who upon graduation from college decided to join the Peace Corps in lovely Morocco, which has taught her more than I’ll ever know about life in a hostile foreign environment and which I can only hope will her to writing her own Jamesian account of her many adventures
Among many other significant differences from life in the States is the postal system, which makes our own look like a model of extraordinary efficiency. First of all, anything you send her takes weeks and sometimes months to arrive. Second of all, if the sender declares the value of a package, the recipient has to pay that much to redeem it. Third of all, she said recently she had yet to receive a package that hasn’t been torn open and rifled through.
Anyway, I sent her a pile of recent paperbacks, declared their value as nil (I got them free, by the way) and sent them off in early November in the dim hope they would arrive by her birthday later that month. They weren’t even there by Christmas. Rachel writes back, tells me to be patient, mentions Ramadan, etc., while I frustratingly imagine them stolen en route – although, frankly, it’s hard to imagine some guy in a turban sipping a tookah at a café (or whatever they do over there) making much sense of Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love.
Happily, the Turk never got his chance, as Rachel’s latest e-mail confirms:
I got the books!!!!!! You have no clue how excited I was to open that box. I pretty much sat on the floor for an hour reading and flipping through each book. So far I have finished Geek Love, Kissing in Manhattan, An Invisible Sign of Ones own, and Melancholy of Anatomy. I’m in the middle of They Went Whistling. As you can probably see, having read 4 and a half books in a little over a weekend, I was a wee bit book-starved so you are my literary angel I am sure. Thank you thank you thank you! I LOVED Geek Love and Manhattan and have already loaned them to fellow volunteers. I had a couple friends over this weekend and both of them were seething with jealousy over my new library. An Invisible Sign of ones own was good but melancholy of Anatomy was a wee bit crappy. Had some really creative parts but I wasn’t crazy about it as a cohesive unit. They Went Whistling is fun to read but I don’t believe it the way the writer probably intended it to be believed. I’m saving the Kelly Gang for the first weekend in February when I have no plans and will have a good weekend to just curl up and read. I’m busy now with classes and map painting and changing apartments (see mass email) so I’m saving a few books to christen my new home. Thank you again! I love you! Give kisses to your women for me!