Themes and message

Nostalgia about being young

One of the main themes of the short story “Reunion” by Peter Bradshaw is the nostalgia many people feel about being young. This topic is explored through Elliot’s memories about being 11 years old and in love with his neighbour Lucy Venables: “Lucy Venables’s family had moved into the house next to mine at the beginning of the baking summer of 1976. I was an only child with few friends.” (ll. 50-51).

The fact that Elliot places his childhood passion for Lucy on the same level as his adult relationships is the first hint that he is longing for his youth and perhaps for a sincere and uncomplicated relationship: “I’ve been in love three times during my life. Once was when I was married in my forties. (...) And once when I was just eleven years old, with Lucy...” (ll. 5-7); “And as for the last case, well, there was no break-up as such, but my eleven-year-old’s passion for eleven-year-old Lucy Venables was just as real as my other loves.” (ll. 22-23).

When Elliot meets Chloë, his memories about his childhood become very vivid: “That of course was a lie. The whole story came back into my mind, in every detail, with immense clarity and force.”  (ll. 49-50); “It all came back to me with this very attractive woman in front of me.” (l. 103).

Interestingly, Chloë also admits thinking often about their childhood, which suggests the woman is also nostalgic about th...

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