Friday, August 10, 2012

the last book I ever read (Dave Eggers' A Hologram for the King, excerpt five)

from A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers:

If he got out of this alive and unharmed, Alan vowed to be better. He would have to be stronger. His mother had tried to rally his strength, inspire him. She would read him passages from the diary of some distant relative, a woman living in the woods of what was now western Massachusetts. She had watched her husband and two of her children murdered by Indians, and had herself been abducted. She lived with her captors for almost a year until being returned to her people. She was reunited with her daughter, the only survivor of the attack, and they commenced to build a thriving dairy farm over six hundred acres of Vermont. She survived a heavy winter where the snow collapsed her roof, a beam falling on her leg, which was soon amputated. She survived a smallpox plague that took her daughter, who had just gotten engaged. The fiancĂ© moved onto the farm and ran it when she died, at ninety-one. Would you rather be here, now, Alan’s mother liked to say, or abducted and living in the woods with one leg? She had no tolerance for whining, for any sort of malaise in the midst of the bounty of their suburban life. Forty million dead during World War II, she would say. Fifteen million during the war before. What was it that you were complaining about?

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