Yesterday, I read “The Aquarium,” Aleksandar Hemon’s account, in The New Yorker, of the death of his daughter. I’ve written four separate paragraphs about the piece — about the impact it had on me — as a new father, as a writer, just as a person in general. But I’ve erased them all.
I’ve long followed Hemon’s work with a strange devotion. Since I read The Question of Bruno, in college, on the recommendation of Robert Buckeye, the Special Collections Librarian at Middlebury College — I have always felt like my work made better sense in the context of that book of stories. The first novel, Red Weather, my own early short fiction — they all had the imprint of The Question of Bruno, a not-insignificant imprint.
Now this piece. It truly was devastating and it made my heart ache, literally; my heart hurt in my chest as I was reading it. I am amazed by Hemon’s bravery — and curse the horrid indifference of a world that steals children away from their parents. That’s all. I don’t know what else to say.