We first heard of Hermann Hesse from a dear friend, Paul Mathieu. After reading Damien, we quickly devoured just about all of Hesse's books in short order. Amazing how we had never come across Hesse before. We learned later that Hesse was a popular writer in his time (1920's) and again in the 60's. Paul was probably a teenager in the late 60's and I believe read Hesse at the Lycée. Whenever I think of Hesse, of Damien or Siddhartha, I immediately think of Paul. Then I think of our trips to India, of our time in Berlin, in Harlem, and so forth. We're continually inspired by Paul's youthful approach to life.
Books - especially ones given by a friend that they have personally read - are true gifts. Some have a letter on the inside cover or a name, many have scribbled notes in the margins, and nearly all have dog-ears, a clear sign of a favorite passage or a natural stopping point to reflect or take a break - maybe jump in the ocean or grab dinner. These books not only inspire the person reading, but also take a part of that person with them when they're passed to a new owner. Our journey would be incomplete and most likely stalled without the guidance, inspiration and magic of the books we've been given.
To Paul and all those friends who've given us these "gifts" - THANK YOU!
Catherine at Paul's place in Udaipur, India (2010)