Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the last book I ever read (Rabbit, Run by John Updike, excerpt four)

from John Updike's Rabbit, Run:

Nelson’s face turns up toward the porch and he tries to explain, “Pilly have – Pilly — ” But just trying to describe the injustice gives it unbearable force, and as if struck from behind he totters forward and slaps the thief’s chest and receives a mild shove that makes him sit on the ground. He rolls on his stomach and spins in the grass, resolved by his own incoherent kicking. Eccles’ heart seems to twist with the child’s body; he knows so well the propulsive power of a wrong, the way the mind batters against it and each futile blow sucks the air emptier until it seems the whole frame of blood and bone must burst in a universe that can be such a vacuum.

“The boy’s taken his truck,” he tells Mrs. Springer.

“Well let him get it himself,” she says. “He must learn. I can’t be getting up on these legs and running outside every minutes; they’ve been at it like that all afternoon.”

“Billy.” The boy looks up in surprise toward Eccles’ male voice. “Give it back.” Billy considers this new evidence and hesitates indeterminately. “Now, please.” Convinced, Billy walks over and pedantically drops the toy on his sobbing playmate’s head.

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