Wednesday, November 7, 2012

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

from NW by Zadie Smith:

Naomi threw things in the cart. Natalie threw them out. Naomi threw them in. Spike soiled himself. People looked at Natalie. She looked at them. Back and forth went the looks of paranoia and contempt. It was freezing outside, freezing inside. They managed to join a queue. Just. They only just managed it.

"I'll tell you a story, Nom-Nom, if you stop that, I'll tell you a story. Do you want to listen to my story?" asked Natalie Blake.

"No," said Naomi De Angelis.

Natalie wiped the cold sweat from her forehead with her scarf and looked up to see if anyone was admiring her maternal calm in the face of such impossible provocation. The woman in front of her in the queue came into view. She was emptying her pockets onto the counter, offering to relinquish this and that item. Her children, four of them, cringed around her legs.

Natalie Blake had completely forgotten what it was like to be poor. It was a language she'd stopped being able to speak, or even to understand.

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