Thursday, November 1, 2012

the last book I ever read (Zadie Smith's NW, excerpt two)

from NW by Zadie Smith:

He found himself on the pavement. As he got back up on his knees, he heard one of them say, "Big man on the train. Ain't the big man now." And instead of fear, a feeling of pity came over him; he remembered when being the big man was all that mattered. He reached into his pockets. They could have his phone. They could have the lone twenty in his pocket if it came to that. He'd been mugged many times and knew the drill. When he was younger they might have wounded his ego; now the old fury and humiliation were gone--they could have it all. Everything he cared about was elsewhere. He tried to laugh at them as he handed over his meager valuables: "Should have caught me two hours ago, blud. Two hours ago I was loaded." The kid gave him a dead-eyed look, face set in a violent pout. It was a necessary mask, without which he could not do what he was doing. "And the stones," said the kid. Felix touched his ears. Treasured zirconias, a present from Grace.

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