"For this was a moment I had postponed for a long time, and one I had never dreamed would finally take place.... I had come back, not to stay, but only for an hour or so -- long enough to see and savor again...that small and surprisingly unchanged part of the city where I was born and had spent so much of my life, where I knew every building and back alley as well as I knew my own front yard, where I had been a young priest, where I had had my own parish, and where, as in no place else, I had belonged, I had been at home. I suppose it's the mark of the provincial man, but in any case I find I have a special and lasting love for this place, which is so obviously just a place, which has no particular beauty or grace or grandeur of scene, but which is, quite simply, a neighborhood, my neighborhood, a compound of sights and smells and sounds that have furnished all my years. What kind of a man is it who, after almost fifty years, can still spend half his time remembering the cry of the chestnut man, as it came floating down the street on a winter night...?"
This novel is one of the finest I have read. I recommend it to my friends.