Monday, April 21, 2014

the last book I ever read (Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, excerpt three)

from A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra:

Dark plumes drifted from distant smokestacks, a chain of wind-rounded mountains, the taste of post-Soviet air like a dirty rag in her mouth. When they reached the bus terminal, she waited until her roller suitcase was safely on the ground before paying the driver. The Samsonite, a final gift from Brendan, might as well have been a neon-lit billboard advertising her foreignness as she rolled it past the imperial-era steamer trunks of other travelers. The nationalized bus line no longer ran routes into Chechnya, but after she had waited for an hour in a three-person line, a clerk directed her to a kiosk that sold lesbian porn, Ukrainian cigarettes, Air Supply cassettes, and tickets on a privately owned bus that made a weekly journey from North Ossetia to Chechnya. The next departure wasn’t until the following morning. Though tired from travel, she knew she wouldn’t sleep. She sat through the night on a wooden bench with one of her shoelaces tied around the suitcase handle to discourage gypsy children from rolling off with it.

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