Help id a book from very general description

A friend is trying to identify a book; here’s the description:

Any thoughts?


I’m thinking it’s from the movie Citizen Kane, actually.

Bernstein: "A fellow will remember a lot of things you wouldn’t think he’d remember. You take me. One day, back in 1896, I was crossing over to Jersey on the ferry, and as we pulled out, there was another ferry pulling in, and on it there was a girl waiting to get off. A white dress she had on. She was carrying a white parasol. I only saw her for one second. She didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl. "

Thanks! that does sound like it. I’ll suggest it to my friend.

Sounds like Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, by James Joyce.

“A girl stood before him in midstream, alone and still, gazing out to the sea. She seemed like one who magic had changed into the likeness of a strange and beautiful sea creature.”

The Summer of '42, maybe? :dubious:

This exact passage was quoted in the Harlan Ellison short story “Grail”, which is reproduced in The Essential Ellison. One of my favorites. Since the OP’s friend claims to have read it, that seems a likely possibility.

What a well-traveled memory that is! It’s almost exactly a description of the woman Curly talks about falling in love with in City Slickers.

Sounds like an inspiration for a new thread, about those moments, apropos of nothing at all, than nonetheless stay with you forever, or at least a really long time.

But someone needs to come up with a catchier title.

There’s a famous poem that deals with that scenario. Perhaps it was covered in English class, and later remembered as a novel by your friend:

I’m thinking of David Copperfield. (I mean the book by Charles Dickens, not the glitzy magician/Vegas showman.)

Early on David observes Little Em’ly skipping along the beach and he notes that this is one of those images he will forever preserve in his memory.

Little Em’ly reappears at various stages of Copperfield’s life and I think in some way, Copperfield always kept a small torch burning for her.

It just occurred to me, could this be The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, by Umberto Eco? It’s about an amnesiac trying to recall the face of a girl he loved years ago. (Ironically, I can’t remember how she was described).