editor's choice

By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept


I recently reread Elizabeth Smart’s classic By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, which I first devoured as an eager teen and have come back to many times since. It resonated then, the language so beautiful, the emotion so raw. It still rates as one of my top books about love devastating, over-powering, painful, joyous, obsessional, dark love, but love none the less – and perhaps as an adult, I appreciate it’s brutal honesty that much more. Smart’s language is just on point and lyrical to the point where one wants to weep.

It’s gorgeous.

And one has to note, particularly in this #metoo world, that Smart’s pain seems worth it. Out of the ashes, this book was born and that is her ultimate revenge on the man who treated her so poorly, with whom she had her doomed love affair. For while this book is hailed by many as exquisite, a true classic, who really remembers poet George Barker otherwise?

Read it alone, somewhere beautiful, with a pile of hankies. And a bottle of very good scotch.


By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept | Elizabeth Smart | 1945 | various editions

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Also of interest:Letters from the heart, our Top 20 love letters‘; ‘Valley of the Dolls‘; ‘We should all be feminists’; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’.

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