…a sacred reference point, no matter how abstract.

The above was quoted to me as a definition of home: summing the idea up better than any of my more recent mental gymnastics have.* See, I went back to Denver last week, to the place that was home to me for the first 18 years of my life. My idea of home has shifted drastically since; recently I’ve begun thinking about what I would defend like my sanity.

I began this blog to be a record of things I read, and, optimistically, hoped it would follow that I’d reactivate analytic and writing skills that were a bit rusty. While my entries have in no way kept pace with my library card, this forum has reminded me that one of the things I’d defend is the ability to read, widely and well. Otherwise, I might never have come across one of my favorite mystery writers, Tana French. Her first book, In The Woods, is excellent. Her second, The Likeness, is haunting.

The Likeness is the story of detective Cassie Maddox who goes undercover to impersonate a murdered girl, Lexie Madison. As Lexie, Cassie infiltrates an old estate shared with three roommates. Together the four of them have created an isolated world where eccentricities flourish. All have left behind families, relationships, ties to other homes in favor of a new sort of lifestyle. It is a mystery, yes, and Cassie’s assignment is to figure out which roommate(s) might be responsible for Lexie’s death. But it’s also a lyrical look at the way children break away from families, history, home and build other relationships on different foundations. About growing up.

The paragraph that gets me every time is one I’ve sent to some of you before, I’m sure.

Or possibly–forgive me–you haven’t decided what you want from life yet; you haven’t found anything that you truly want to hold on to. That changes everything, you know. Students and very young people can rent with no damage to their intellectual freedom, because it puts them under no threat; they have nothing, yet, to lose. Have you noticed how easily the very young die? They make the best martyrs for any cause, the best soldiers, the best suicides. It’s because they’re held here so lightly: they haven’t yet accumulated loves and responsibilities and commitments and all the things that tie us securely to this world. They can let go of it as easily and simply as lifting a finger. But as you get older, you begin to find things that are worth holding onto, forever. All of a sudden you’re playing for keeps, as children say, and it changes the very fabric of you.

The point, now: finding what’s worth holding on to, forever…no matter how abstract.

*regular reader, want to comment on your source? I’ve been wondering :)