Cars and books are metal and paper to the uninitiated, but offer appreciative souls the liberation that they seek.
NINA George is the author of The Little Paris Bookshop, which revolves around a bookseller who regards his bookshop on a restored barge on the river Seine as a sort of “literary apothecary”.
He is like a literary physician who can diagnose whatever is troubling his customers and prescribes books to soothe their souls.
One of the lines in the novel struck a chord in me: “Whenever Monsieur Perdu looked at a book, he did not see it purely in terms of a story, retail price and an essential balm for the soul; he saw freedom on wings of paper.”
To some, a book is simply a book – a collection of words printed onto paper and bound together into a volume. The carefully orchestrated plot, beautifully written language and literary nuances are lost on an unappreciative audience.
So it is with cars. To some, a car is just a car – a metal assemblage of bits and pieces. The visually stimulating design, impeccable craftsmanship and mechanical poetry mean nothing to someone who regards it merely as a personal mode of conveyance.
Getting behind the wheel of a great car is like reading a good book – engrossing.
Just as a book reveals the author’s inner psyche and communicates with the reader, driving is a form of communication between the car and the driver. Authors have their distinguishing literary traits, just as different car brands and car models have their unique characteristics.
When I am engrossed in a good read, I feel as if I am physically in the story. It is as if I am in the same room as the characters, listening to their conversations, and experiencing what they are going through at that moment.
Everything that the author describes is vivid in my mind’s eye and I feel this more strongly when reading a book than when watching a movie adaptation of a book that I have read.
It is the same with cars. When I get in the driver’s seat, the car sends me subliminal messages – not through words like in the case of books, but through the way the car is designed and put together, how its surfaces feel, the way it behaves on the road, how it responds to my inputs, how it sounds, and even the way it smells.
Driving is a multi-sensory experience, which can be extremely stimulating, soul- stirring even, especially in a beautifully designed and properly engineered car.
JUST AS MONSIEUR PERDU “SAW FREEDOM ON WINGS OF PAPER”, PERHAPS LYNN AND HER FELLOW CAR LOVERS SEE FREEDOM ON WHEELS OF METAL.