From Jamie Schaffner
How could it possibly be good? How could I possibly get through the evening without weeping? Got that part out of way from the start, when I saw a directional sign posted on the UCLA campus– Les’s campus to me– a left arrow below ‘No Stopping Train.’ How could it possibly be true that No Stopping Train is here and Les is not, I thought? and ducked into an archway to wait out my tears. When I got home I picked up his novel, which I’d been avoiding since it arrived. To my surprise, I found I had a new way to access Les’s writing. I’d only ever heard his work as read by him or in my own head, so having just heard his colleagues read his jazz-like prose in their own voices, shaking with loss, anger and confusion, broke open a new lane of understanding. The beauty and pain of Les’s characters and the land in which they lived, Hungary post WWII, tore me up. I read two chapters and forced myself to put it down. I want to savor the words over the next few weeks, hear the rhythms and catch the many nuances. I don’t want it to ever end.