Monday, July 29, 2013

the last book I ever read (The Slave by Isaac Bashevis Singer, excerpt two)

from The Slave by Isaac Bashevis Singer:

Her father lay on the bed. He was barefoot and in torn clothes. He seldom undressed. She couldn’t tell whether he was asleep or just resting. Her mother and her sister Basha were busy braiding a rope of straw. The bed that Jan Bzik lay on was the only one in the hut; the whole family slept in it, Wanda included. Years before when her brother Antek had still been unmarried Jan Bzik would have intercourse with his wife before going to sleep and the children would have something to amuse them. But Antek no longer lived at home and the couple had become too old for such games. Everyone expected Jan Bzik to die shortly. Antek who was anxious to take over the house appeared every few days to ask shamelessly, “Well, is the old man still alive?”

“Yes, still alive,” his mother would answer. She also wanted to be rid of this nuisance. He wasn’t worth the bread he ate. He had become weak, morose, irritable. All day he belched. Like a beaver, he kept gathering wood, but the thin, crooked logs he brought home were only good for the fire.

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