Sunday, December 28, 2014

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

from All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews:

I hung up and threw the phone into the river. I didn’t throw the phone into the river. I stopped myself at the last second and muffled something like an already muffled scream. I decided I’d rather set the hospital on fire. I’d prefer not to have my soul crushed. Bartleby the Scrivener preferred not to until he preferred not to work, not to eat, not to do anything, and died under a tree. Robert Walser also died under a tree. James Joyce and Carl Jung died in Zurich. Our father died beside trees on iron rails. The police gave my mother a bag of his belongings afterward, the things he’d had on him when he died. Somehow his glasses didn’t break, maybe they flew off his face into soft clover, or maybe he had carefully removed them and put them down on the ground, but when she took them out of the plastic bag they crumbled in her hands. His watch too. Time. Smash it. His wedding rings were bashed and nearly all of his two hundred and six bones broken.

He had seventy-seven dollars on him at the time and we used the money for Thai takeout because, as my friend Julie says about times like this: You still have to eat.

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