Saturday, December 27, 2014

the last book I ever read (All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, excerpt one)

from All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews:

Elfrieda’s a concert pianist. When we were kids she would occasionally let me be her page turner for the fast pieces that she hadn’t memorized. Page turning is a particular art. I had to be just ahead of her in the music and move like a snake when I turned the page so there was no crinkling and no sticking and no thwapping. Her words. She made me practice over and over, her ear two inches from the page, listening. Heard it! she’d say. And I’d have to do it again until she was satisfied that I hadn’t made the slightest sound. I like the idea of being ahead of her in something. I took real pride in creating a seamless passage for her from one page to the next. There’s a perfect moment for turning the page and if I was too early or too late Elfrieda would stop playing and howl. The last measure! she’d say. Only at the last measure! Then her arms and head would crash onto the keys and she’d hold her foot on the sustaining pedal so that her suffering would resonate eerily throughout the house.

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