Rosemary and her Poplar Street Books came along at the right time in Charlotte, just when the city was growing like a teenager and was looking for its identity. And in the right place, too--a historic house in the old Fourth Ward, a house once occupied by a family related to Stonewall Jackson.
But the book is also about what it was like losing her. We hear much about a war on cancer. This is more like the war cancer wages on us. And surviving that war. But in the end, it's not really about war. More about coming to terms with the universe through the kindness of grief. At first there was a searing of flesh and crushing of bone in the aftermath of death, and witnessing the little spirit linger for a while, then become one with a universal spirit of some kind. At least, that's the way it seemed.
I didn't grasp the nature of love until I had nothing to grasp. After making inquiries into the nature of love, and working backwards from the grief I was feeling, I could see that love is an addiction. The release of chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine are the same as you get from using cocaine. When deprived of it, you're in withdrawal, an addict in need of a fix.
Certain books are good for grief. Proust, for example. There's a lot of Proust here. If you've read Remembrance of Things Past, you'll see why, and want to throw your arms around your own Albertine, so strong will be your affection for her and her mysterious ways.