A Thousand Country Roads, Robert James Waller

It turns out that when you were sitting in a yellow shade of the lamp, reading about distant places and perhaps desiring to visit them, it was me who was there dozens of time, I drove under your windowsills desiring something quite opposite. I dreamt of your armchair, and lamp, your family and your friends. For sure, there was a drizzle. There was my equipment on the seat next to me and I was looking for a place where I could spend the night without spending too much money. And eventually, I found it, I fell asleep and the next day I moved on, only recollecting a yellow shadow of your lamp”.

It has been 16 years since Robert Kincaid last spoke with Francesca Johnson. The photographer’s days are getting longer and they are filled with longing and misery that even photos of smiling and laughing Francesca cannot ease. A miles away widowed Francesca is looking out the window, waiting for a truck that parked beside her house years ago. The woman’s melancholy encourages her to take nostalgic walks into the Roseman bridge. She does not know that a man who she has been missing for years will suddenly appear in Madison County…

„But I have made my choice. I suffered from my weakness and yet it made me move on and not turn back on my life and not be filled with desperate longing for what I have left behind, apart from this woman. I detested hearth and home and I chose the road. Now I must face up to the consequence and I have no right to complain about my life I have created for myself”.

Kincaid, a little bit gray and more experienced by the circumstances, goes on the road to visit old friends and places whose fragrance and shapes has been dwelling inside him for all those empty years. He is accompanied only by his dog Highway and driving in an old truck which he calls Harry and he goes to the woman, to whom he has been visiting in his thoughts for the last 16 years. At the same time, the man called Carlisle decides to find a man who gave him live over 40 years ago.

„And it is far from home, isn’t it? Very far”.

A Thousand Country Roads is a story about the road and for people who are on the road. Waller shows how our lives are governed by accidents and coincidences and the entwining of those events is the most peculiar idea in the whole human existence. Francesca and Robert’s lives still surprises and the reader has a great opportunity to find out how little it sometimes lacks as it comes to pure human happiness.

Author: Katarzyna Anita Piotrowska
Translation: Dorota Osińska