Francice Prose at Lapham’s Quarterly:
In case we wonder why not all of us have healthy, sustaining, lifelong friendships, this issue offers some answers to the riddle of why and how friendships, begun in such pleasure and good faith, can derail so catastrophically.
Obviously, one threat to friendship is death, the built-in drawback to any cherished human connection. Composed in the second millennium, Gilgamesh’s haunting lament for his friend Enkidu makes us realize how little grief and mourning have changed in four thousand years. Saint Augustine is nearly destroyed by sorrow over the death of a friend: “I hated everything, because nothing had him in it, and nothing could now say to me, ‘Look, he’s coming.’ ”
The moral, as always, is that if you’re afraid of losing friends, it’s probably better not to have any.