Image provided by David H. Turpin

David H. Turpin
President, University of Victoria

Affiliation with UVic English: a fan

Special Book: The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin

When did you first read this book: I first read this book on the plane during my first trip to Australia.

Which sentence from this book has special significance for you?

“Today, he said, more than ever before, men had to learn to live without things. Things filled men with fear: the more things they had, the more they had to fear. Things had a way of riveting themselves on to the soul and then telling the soul what to do.”

What does the sentence mean to you?

Chatwin’s fascination with the nomadic existence, his own life as a traveller and his sense of “the morality of things” informed much of his work. To me these lines speak to the burden we experience through material acquisition and the need to reflect on our underlying motives with each decision we make.