Thursday, June 7, 2012

the last book I ever read (Anne Enright's The Gathering, excerpt two)

from Anne Enright's The Gathering, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize:

There is something wonderful about a death, how everything shuts down, and all the ways you thought you were vital are not even vaguely important. Your husband can feed the kids, he can work the new oven, he can find the sausages in the fridge, after all. And his important meeting was not important, no in the slightest. And the girls will be picked up from school, and dropped off again in the morning. Your eldest daughter can remember her inhaler, and your youngest will take her gym kit with her, and it is just as you suspected--most of the stuff that you do is just stupid, really stupid, most of the stuff you do is just nagging and whining and picking up for people who are too lazy even to love you, even that, let alone find their own shoes under their own bed; people who turn and accuse you--scream at you sometimes--when they can only find one shoe.

And I am crying by now, heading down the airport road, I am bawling my eyes out behind the wheel of my Saab 9.3, because even the meeting your husband has, the vital meeting, was not important (how could you ever, even for a moment, think such things were important?) and he loves you completely for the half an hour, or half a week in which your brother is freshly dead.

I should probably pull over but I do not pull over: I cry-drive all the way. At Collins Avenue, a man stuck in the oncoming traffic looks across at me, sobbing and gagging in my posh tin box. He is two feet away from me. He is just there. He gives me a look of complete sympathy, and then he eases past. It has happened to us all.

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