Torea Frey

Editor, writer, photographer, observer on the street.

The Faster I Walk The Smaller I Am, Kjersti A. Skomsvold

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In this strange little book, translated from Norwegian by Kerri A. Pierce, there is Mathea, waiting for death. She passes through the world largely unnoticed, wearing her apricot wedding dress and her dead husband's broken wristwatch, carrying a plastic baggie full of teeth (few of which are her own).   

You might think that all this would be depressing, but it's not, really; it is what it is, and sometimes someone plants a lamppost over the time capsule that you've just buried, after laboring endlessly to select the perfect message to leave behind---no big deal.  

It's this nonchalance, this working against the momentousness of life, that is so compelling. In the end, clinging too dearly to anything can be problematic, Skomsvold seems to say. "When I reach the water's edge, I kneel in the sand," she writes. "I open the sandwich bag and empty out the teeth. I remember how sure I was that I'd find a use for them and that they'd have some sort of significance. But sometimes you have to give meaning to meaningless things."  

Indeed, sometimes you do---and you hold onto those things until the time for significance fades, then you find a way to let the littleness, the small gesture, speak volumes.