This is the year of my seventieth birthday, a fact that bewilders me. I find it hard to believe. I understand now the look of affront I often saw in my father’s face after this age and that I see in the faces of my contemporaries. We are affronted because, whatever we may feel, time has turned us into curiosities of  some secondhand shop. We are haunted by the suspicion that the prayers we did not know we were making have been only too blatantly answered.

V.S. Pritchett, “Midnight Oil”


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