After an intervening couple of decades I revisited Sagan’s novel. I remembered enjoying it greatly when I read it in my teens, and hoped the same memories of cut-glass oceans and desultory fucking-for-effect conniving would hold true.
The book made much more of an impact the first time around. I’m not certain if back then it was because the whole written-when-the-author-was-just-17! thing seemed much more important. But these days it just seems like a lot of youth’s acts – churlish and ill-considered.
I suppose there’s a certain genius in accurately conveying the way adolescents fake maturity until they attain it – and the following fuck-ups that result from acting with appearance rather than consideration – but upon a second reading the once-shocking ending loses some of its sting. By its ending the novel appears as a very pretty thing, but one without much ability to galvanise or produce much more than a ‘meh’ at its conclusion.
Some things aren’t meant to be reread. This is one of them.