Saturday, May 22, 2010

Clement Yung: Bookman

An old Montreal book scout, Clement Yung, had been much on my mind recently. Why does someone from one's past enter into the conscious mind and preoccupy one's thoughts with memories of distant days? I can't say. Perhaps it was because I was rereading some of the Arthur Machen books he had sold me a long time ago. But, then again, he had been in my thoughts prior to my reaching for the books, being perhaps the stimulus towards that revisitation.

Having left Montreal over 7 years ago, I had lost touch with him, and since he was in my thoughts, I decided to look him up on the Internet in the hope of perhaps reconnecting and reliving the past. It was sad news to discover he had died on May 9th.

We were mildly competitive book scouts in the 1980s; I rarely scooped him. His superior knowledge made for a quicker eye-hand coordination. If I did come away the better at a sale, it was because I was lucky, turning left instead of right upon entering a sale room for instance. In the 1990s when I sought out the refuge of a regular paycheck in library work, we kept in touch and he was often a great help. Originally from England, he was well-known in Montreal as a knowledgeable book scout, unusual for his English accent, his colourful clothes and his independent competitive spirit--and in his early years for his astounding ability to carry boxes of books on a bicycle. I regret having lost touch. My thoughts are with you Clement.

Clement Yung (1946-2010)

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