Something has been lost in the inter-connectivity of the modern world. The distances that used to separate us physically, created emotional gulfs that also separated us. One of the strongest themes in Lonesome Dove is how the actual physical size and landscape of the American West created this kind of emotional distance.
Even yesterday as my girlfriend and I were having an unofficial anniversary dinner, we got on the topic of the weeks and months leading up to our meeting three years ago. This isn’t an artificial anniversary for us, merely that we don’t have a specific date. And because it’s May and my job and her job both have stressful conditions that exist within this month (her fiscal year ends and my state-wide test occur) it’s a strange month emotionally. And because we live in a smallish but not too small city, the anxiety of maybe running into someone you went on a few OkCupid dates with is real.
This is Nabokov’s first novel. He wrote it at a young age (25 or so) and in exile in Germany after leaving Russia amid the revolution. And it tells the story of a similar enough figure remembering his first love affair and the possibility of this person, from whom he was separated during the revolution, coming to Germany and back into his life and also being connected to a colleague by marriage. It’s a strange, chaotic emotional journey as this new development throws his current life into a small turmoil.
The depths of these kinds of distances aren’t entirely lost on us…but it does feel anachronistic in a way.