2000 Books You Must Read: 4. By Grand Central Station, I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart

Very few people know of Elizabeth Smart. I am sure a minimal population of readers have read By Grand Central Station, I Sat Down and Wept. Why is this a book you must read? Simply because it talks of unrequited love like no other. The story is of Smart’s love affair with the then famous poet George Barker. The writing is not linear. There are snatches of memory, of anguish, of envy (George was a married man), of how love is in its various forms. That worked for me more than anything else.

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept is an ode to all lovers. It speaks to any one who has loved with great passion and madness and then lost it all. The anguish is just heartbreaking. The simple instance of wanting to look at a lover’s face rings true for almost everyone. Such instances and more make the book what it is.

I leave you with some quotes from the book to make up your mind about it:

“I have learned to smoke because I need something to hold onto.”

“I feel helpless, hopeless, too low to call out, too weak to think. Impotent tears dribble down.”

“Perhaps I am his hope. But then she is his present. And if she is his present, I am not his present. Therefore, I am not, and I wonder why no-one has noticed I am dead and taken the trouble to bury me. For I am utterly collapsed. I lounge with glazed eyes, or weep tears of sheer weakness.”

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