It is inevitable that throughout our lives that we meet people. Some disappear from our lives, some reappear and some we lose. This is so ingrained in ourselves that we take it for granted that life’s passage involves meeting people and cultivating friendships. Christopher Boon’s debut novel, The Passing of the Forms that we have Loved expands on the meaning of close relationships and how it affects us.
The book starts off with the narrator meeting a girl and documents his burgeoning relationship, at the same time his father is dying of cancer. During this period an old friend the narrator’s turns up, which bring out a new set of emotions. To add more, there’s also the main protagonist’s mother, who he cares for. One could say the rest of the book details the narrators’ struggle to control this emotional onrush.
Leaving aside the Laurentian plot, The Passing’s main strength is that the writing is gorgeous. This is writing that goes beyond anything you have seen and that is not an exaggeration. Christopher Boon can take something simple as the flickers of first love, or walking down a corridor or even lifting up a heavy object and make it sound like the most poetic, evocative action to grace humankind. Obviously on the more complex scenes, the style becomes even more awe inspiring. One stand out scene takes place in a nudist beach and I just love the way that both the flaws and perfections of the body are given equal space. The former never being described in a derogatory way and the latter is never hypersexualised. To hammer my point home, this book contains some mighty beautiful prose.
As the title states, all things must pass. Aside from the death in the beginning, the narrator experiences all the people in his life going by him until he makes a decision which will really remove him from his current situation, and inevitably and new cycle of relationships will probably start.
The Passing of the Forms is not only a book about complex relations but one about the paradox of time and life itself : as it does evolve and yet it is repetitive. It’s also about how certain actions can shape one’s future. The main protagonist is trying to move on and yet he is stuck as his past keeps returning and then when he makes a rash decision, other complications occur due to his past relationships. Coupled with the sensuous prose just elevates this novel. For such prose to stir such emotions makes The Passing of the Forms that we have Loved a special novel.
Many thanks to époque for providing a copy of The Passing of Forms that we have Loved