Thursday, July 3, 2014

the last book I ever read (Richard Ford's Independence Day, excerpt five)

from Independence Day by Richard Ford:

Right about now, unless I miss my guess, Joe and Phyllis are lying just as I pictured them, stiff as planks, side by side, fully clothed on their narrow bed, staring up into the dim, flyspeck ceiling with all the lights off, realizing as silent as corpses that they can’t help seeing themselves. They are the lonely, haunted people soon to be seen standing in a driveway or sitting on a couch or a cramped patio chair (wherever they land next), peering disconcertedly into a TV camera while being interviewed by the six o’clock news not merely as average Americans but as people caught in the real estate crunch, indistinct members of an indistinct class they don’t want to be members of—the frustrated, the ones on the bubble, the ones who suffer, those forced to live anonymous and glum on short cul-de-sac streets named after the builder’s daughter or her grade-school friends.

And the only thing that’ll save them is to figure out a way to think about themselves and most everything else differently; formulate fresh understandings based on the faith that for new fires to kindle, old ones have to be dashed; and based less on isolating, boneheaded obstinance and more, for instance, on the wish to make each other happy without neutralizing the private self—which was why they showed up in New Jersey in the first place instead of staying in the mountains and becoming smug casualties of their own idiotic miscues.

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