I Never Dared Hope for You

I Never Dared Hope for You: lyric essays

by Christian Bobin

translated from the French by Alison Anderson

Childhood, the pleasures of reading, loss and joy are among the discoveries in this collection of nine lyric essays by French author Christian Bobin. In the fusing of memoir, short story, and reflective essay, along with the spiritual expose of modern life, Bobin’s meditative prose examines spirituality, living mindfully, and the joy of the written word.

“You who travel little, you who never travel: still, there comes the odd day when you happen to take a train. At the station there are lots of businessmen. You can spot them from a distance, by their missing faces. The same man in dozens of copies. The same young man, old in his words, embalmed in his future. You look at them somewhat fearfully, the way as a child you used to look at the dried-up old people with their somber voices. The train pulls in. It’s one of those express trains invented by these businessmen, for their personal convenience. There is a straight line of light-colored carriages. There is a clutch of cold wind that flattens fields and empties them of their furrows, their accents, their nerves. These are fields deserted by gazes, by men, by beasts: lowly clumps of earth tossed to the dogs of speed.” — from “Promised Land.”

“If Christian Bobin were a painter, his canvases would probably look a lot like Degas’ — deftly drawn glimpses of ordinary life caught from a deliciously eccentric angle and suffused with light and an unvarnished realism that confronts you with its sheer and singular immediacy.”

Steve Bradbury, Rain Taxi Review of Books (Vol. 16 No. 1, Winter 2011)

​ISBN: 978097544448 / 2009 / 177 pages / paperback / $10.95 / cover design: Justin Angeles

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