Friday, December 23, 2016

the last book I ever read (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, excerpt seven)

from The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead:

Tennessee proceeded in a series of blights. The blaze had devoured the next two towns on the cindered road. In the morning the remains of a small settlement emerged around a hill, an arrangement of scorched timber and black stonework. First came the stumps of the houses that had once contained the dreams of pioneers, and then the town proper in a line of ruined structures. The town farther along was larger but its rival in destruction. The heart was a broad intersection where ravaged avenues had converged in enterprise, now gone. A baker’s over in the ruins of the shop like a grim totem, human remains bent behind the steel of a jail cell.

Cora couldn’t tell what feature of the landscape had persuaded the homesteaders to plant their futures, fertile earth or water or vistas. Everything had been erased. If the survivors returned it would be to confirm the resolution to try again somewhere else, scurrying back east or ever west. No resurrection here.

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