Tuesday, January 31, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt nine)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

Crabtree’s father was a Pentecostalist preacher somewhere out in Hogscrotum County, MO, and his mother was the editor-in-chief of a magazine for knitting-machine enthusiasts. “She can make you anything,” went a favorite line of his. “She made me a queer.” He had been lost to the clutch of Satan since early adolescence and hadn’t seen them in years.

Monday, January 30, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt eight)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“That isn’t my home,” he said coldly.

“Oh no?” I said. “Where’s your home, then? Carvel?” I withdrew my hand from his shoulder. “Or would that be Sylvania?”

Sunday, January 29, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt seven)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“Sweetie pie,” I said, reaching out for the first time to touch her. I cupped her chin in my hand, and stroked her cool hair, and admired for the one thousandth time the surprising planes of her downturned face. Emily was a thoughtful, intense, and complicated woman with an ear for dialogue, a nice sense of the absurd, and a loyal heart, but I may well have had no better reason for falling in love with her than her face. And I don’t care what you will say about me, either. People get married for worse reasons than that. But like all beautiful faces Emily’s made you believe that its possessor was a better person than she was. It allowed her to pass for stoical when she was petrified, and for mysterious and aloof when she was so filled with self-doubt that she bought presents for other people when it was her birthday, framed most of her conversation in terms of apology and regret, and for all her talent could no longer manage to string twenty-five paragraphs of prose together to make a short story. “I think it tastes fine. I do.”

She took hold of my hand and gave my fingers a grateful squeeze.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt six)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“Oh shit,” I said, “Emily’s flowers.” I leaned over into the back of the car and discovered that in the course of our journey the wind had reached in and plucked bare every last rose. We must have left a trail of petals along the highway from Pittsburgh to Kinship. It was just a six-dollar arrangement padded with baby’s breath and bear grass but nonetheless at the loss of it I felt disconcerted and somehow disarmed.

“Oops,” said James, looking at me with an expression halfway between pity and disapproval, the way you look at a drunken man who stands up to find that he has been sitting for an hour on his hat.

Friday, January 27, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt five)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

I remember that I had been dangling unhappily from the rope of my new life as an English professor in Pittsburgh for about three months, friendless, bored, and living alone in a cramped flat over a Ukrainian coffee shop on the South Side, when Crabtree showed up, dressed in a knee-length leather policeman’s coat, with a sheet of Mickey Mouse acid and sixty-five hundred dollars in severance pay from a men’s fashion magazine that had just decided to fire its literary editor and get out of the unprofitable fiction business once and for all. I was so glad to see him. We set out immediately to reconnoiter the bars of my new hometown—Danny’s, Jimmy Post’s, the Wheel, all of them gone now—landing in the Hat, on a Saturday night, when the Blue Roosters, the house band at that time, were joined onstage by a visiting Rufus Thomas. We were not only drunk but tripping our brains out, and thus our initial judgment of the welcome the Hat afforded us and of the level of the entertainment was not entirely accurate—we were under the impression that everybody there loved us, and as I recall we also believed that Rufus was singing the French lyrics of “My Way” to the tune of “Walkin’ the Dog.” At a certain point in the evening, furthermore, one of the patrons was badly beaten, out in the alley, and came stumbling back into the Hat with his ear hanging loose; Crabtree and I, having consumed four orders of barbecued ribs, then spent a fiery half hour unconsuming them, taking turns over the toilet in the men’s room. We’d been going back ever since, every time Crabtree came to town.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt four)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“Now the tuba,” I said.

“That’s a big trunk,” James said, as we jammed in the leathery old case that looked so much like the black heart of some leviathan. “It fits a tuba, three suitcases, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt three)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

The overcoat was a trademark of his. It was an impermeable thrift-shop special with a plaid flannel lining and wide lapels, and it looked as though it had been trying for many years to keep the rain off the stooped shoulders of a long series of hard cases, drifters, and ordinary bums. It emitted an odor of bus station so desolate that just standing next to him you could feel your luck change for the worse.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt two)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

In the summer of 1958 it was reported in the Pittsburgh newspapers that Joseph Tedesco, a native of Naples and an assistant groundskeeper at Forbes Field, had been suspended from his job for keeping an illegal vegetable garden on a scrap of vacant land that lay just beyond the wall in center right. It was his third summer at the ballpark; in the years before this he had failed at several modest enterprises, among them a domestic gardening business, an apple orchard, and a nursery. He was careful in his work but terrible with money, and he lost two of his businesses through disorderly bookkeeping. The rest of them he lost through drink. His well-tended but rather overexuberant patch of tomatoes, zucchini, and romano beans on tall poles, some four hundred and twenty feet from home plate, had caught the unfavorable notice of a real estate broker who was attempting to close the deal for the sale of the ballpark site to the University of Pittsburgh, and soon afterward Mr. Tedesco found himself sitting, in his vast undershorts, in his living room in Greenfield, while his former crewmates went on chalking foul lines and hosing down the infield dirt. Then his tale of injustice made the papers; there was a public outcry and a protest from the union; and a week after the scandal broke Mr. Tedesco was back on the job, having fulfilled his promise to dig up the offending plants and transplant them to his own postage-stamp backyard on Neeb Avenue. A few weeks later, just after the all-star break, at his youngest child’s and only daughter’s eighth birthday party, Mr. Tedesco had too much to drink, choked on a piece of meat while laughing at a joke, and died, surrounded by his wife and children, his two grandchildren, and his rows of Early Girls and lima beans. With an almost mysterious affection his daughter would afterward remember him as a big, fat, shiftless, and overexuberant minor craftsman, with bad habits, who committed a kind of suicide-by-appetite.

Monday, January 23, 2017

the last book I ever read (Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt one)

from Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

I remember I’d let my senior workshop go home early that afternoon, telling them it was because of WordFest; but everyone looked over at poor James Leer as they filed out of the room. When I finished gathering all the marked-up dittoed copies and typed critiques of his latest odd short story, shuffling them into my briefcase, and putting on my coat, and then turned to leave the classroom, I saw that the boy was still sitting there, at the back of the classroom, in the empty circle of chairs. I knew I ought to say something to console him—the workshop had been awfully hard on him—and he seemed to want to hear the sound of my voice; but I was in a hurry to get to the airport and irritated with him for being such a goddamn spook all the time, and so I only said good-bye to him and started out the door. “Turn out the light, please,” he’d said, in his choked little powder-soft voice. I knew that I shouldn’t have, but I did it all the same; and there you have my epitaph, or one of them, because my grave is going to require a monument inscribed on all four sides with rueful mottoes, in small characters, set close together. I left James Leer sitting there, alone in the dark, and arrived at the airport about half an hour before Crabtree’s plane was due, which gave me the opportunity to sit in my car in the airport parking garage smoking a fatty and listening to Ahmad Jamal, and I won’t pretend that I hadn’t been envisioning this idyllic half hour from the moment I dismissed my class. Over the years I’d surrendered many vices, among them whiskey, cigarettes, and the various non-Newtonian drugs, but marijuana and I remained steadfast companions. I had one fragrant ounce of Humboldt County, California, in a Ziploc bag in the glove compartment of my car.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt fourteen)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

Congregation Beth Isaac was housed in a midcentury modernist chalet whose A-frame gables of azure blue betrayed its original career as an International House of Pancakes. Indeed, the shul was known locally, my grandfather learned, as Beth IHOP. In a showcase on a wall just inside the front entrance, among some newspaper clippings eulogizing the generosity and community spirit of various congregants living and dead, my grandfather noticed a trophy topped by a gold shaygets with a racquet. Beside it was a photo of a beefy young Jew shaking hands with a lanky fellow, both men wearing white polo shirts and white shorts. The lean-faced athlete was said to be British Open champion Geoff Hunt. The strapping Jew on the other end of the handshake was identified as Rabbi Lance Teppler.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt thirteen)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

I tracked Lorraine down in early 2013. I had been thinking of writing a novel based on what I knew about my grandmother and her illness, and I was hoping I might find something useful in Dr. Medved’s records. By the time I found my way to Lorraine Medved-Engel, the number of boxes had been reduced to twenty-seven by vicissitude, disaster, and Dr. Medved’s son, Wayne. “Always sort of resentful-slash-worshipful about Dad,” according to Lorraine, Wayne Medved consigned most of the boxes to a landfill shortly before taking his own life on the tenth anniversary of his father’s death. Hurricane Sandy, on its way through Mantoloking and Lorraine’s basement in September 2012, had done for most of the rest of the boxes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt twelve)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

My grandfather reached for the dashboard lighter. He did not want to force my mother to have to see her mother in a madhouse, and he did not want my grandmother to walk out of the madhouse after eleven months and see him standing there alone. He could not decide which of the two would represent the bigger failure on his part. He brought his fingertip near the element and felt the heat of it well before he let it touch his skin. There was a his, and the car filled with a nauseous odor like the smell of a tooth under the drill.

“Fixed,” he said.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt eleven)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

I was stretched out on the sofa in my mother’s living room, reading Nine Stories. It was a sofa of the seventies, covered in synthetic wool of lunar gray, poufy yet severe. Beyond my bare feet, a set of sliding glass doors gave onto a redwood deck. At the back of the house the hillside fell away wih alarming verticality. The trees here had been topped to permit constant monitoring, as by some fairy-tale miser, of the two-bridge view in which a puzzling percentage of the house’s value was felt to lie. Down below at the western verge of Oakland, car lights scrolled along the interchanges like cryptic headlines on a zipper. San Francisco was an amber radiance of fog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt ten)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

He pointed to the northeast. My grandfather felt his heart leap. A star had popped loose from its constellation and gone rolling down the sky. It was falling, but it was not a falling star. It did not flare up and wink out and leave a glowing ghost mark on the retinas. It just kept falling, and falling, and falling, until it disappeared behind the curvature of the earth. It was a prisoner of gravity like everything in the universe. Its orbit would degrade. It would spiral inward until it hit the air and then burn up and break apart and leave nothing but vapor and a memory. And then in time the memory itself would fade like vapor. But to my grandfather, watching secretly from the roof of the Wallkill prison, the passage of that chunk of radiant metal seemed to describe an everlasting arc of freedom. “Wow,” he said. “Look at that.”

“Sputnik!” Dr. Storch said with a childish glee.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt nine)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

What he saw that day, and what he heard from the survivors he questioned, persuaded him that there was no way Wernher von Braun could have been technical director of the V-2 program while remaining unaware of how business was conducted in the Mittelwerk. Von Braun could not be crowned with the glory of the rocket without shouldering the burden of its shame. All the suffering my grandfather saw had been amassed and all the cruelty deployed at the prompting and in the service of von Braun’s dream. It turned out that the V-2 was not a means to liberate the human spirit from the chains of gravity; it was only a pretext for further enchainment. It was not an express bound for the stars but a mail rockets carrying one simple message, signed in high-explosive amatol with the name of Baron von Braun. Maybe the man’s dream had begun as something beautiful and grand. For a time, maybe, its grandeur and its beauty had blinded von Braun to all the ways in which he was busily betraying it. That was only human, the common lot. But once your dream revealed itself, like most dreams, to be nothing but a current of raw compulsion flowing through a circuitry of delusion and lies, then that was the time to give it up. That was the time to damn your dream and trust your eyes. And maybe cock your revolver.

Over the course of that long day in Nordhausen my grandfather trusted his eyes and gave up the dream he had shared with the Wernher von Braun of his imaginings. Along with it, he surrendered the memory of a rocket in a clearing, a half hour of something that had felt like peace, a midnight conversation with the rector of Our Lady of the Moon. When those things were gone, there was a bad moment as my grandfather found himself confronted once more with the void that surrounded the planet of his heart for a thousand parsecs in every direction. After that, as with the liberators of Nordhausen putting away their disgust and useless anguish, there was only the matter of his anger and where to point it.

Monday, January 16, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt eight)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“I’m disappointed in myself. In my life. All my life, everything I tried, I only got halfway there. You try to take advantage of the time you have. That’s what they tell you to do. But when you’re old, you look back and you see all you did, with all that time, is waste it. All you have is a story of things you never started or couldn’t finish. Things you fought with all your heart to build that didn’t last or fought with all your heart to get rid of and they’re all still around. I’m ashamed of myself.”

Sunday, January 15, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt seven)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

There were a lot of painters living at Fontana Village. They painted detailed oil portraits of World War II aircraft, still lifes with seashells, nostalgia-brown scenes of shtetl weddings. They exhibited their work in the lobby of the Activity Center, at the annual holiday art fair.

Sally Sichel was not that kind of painter. She had studied at Pratt and taught painting at UC Davis with Arneson and Thiebaud. Joan Mitchell was the bridesmaid at her first wedding. Her work was not well known—my grandfather, whose idea of great painting began with Winslow Homer and ended with Analog magazine cover artist Kelly Freas, had never heard of her—but she was hardly unknown. Her canvases hung in museums and on the walls of collectors as far away as Japan. Back when SFMOMA was still in the War Memorial Veterans Building, they used to keep a small Sichel in a dim corner, where I paid it a visit once not long after my grandfather’s death. Like most of Sally’s work from the sixties, it seemed to be rooted in some dense and private mathematics. Its lacework of parabolas and angles—red-orange against titanium white—confused the eye. Retinal afterimages turned the white regions to jumping blue-green neon.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt six)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

That morning my grandmother had sent my mother off to school with an assurance that Velvet Brown would have her Pie. Even as the promise was tendered, my mother could not help feeling that something dreadful lay coiled at its bottom. Her mother, she knew, had endured terrible things during the war and after. She had been taken from her family, and then her family had been taken from her. The Nazis had also killed the handsome and heroic young doctor who was my mother’s real father and who was usually played, in her imagination, by James Mason. Her mother had fought her way through the confusions and indignities or life as a refugee, through homesickness, shock, mourning, professional struggle, and the storms of exaltation and fury that blew through her head with the inconstant rhythm of hurricanes. All this while never losing the air of cheerful bitterness that, for my mother, defined bravery. When my grandmother promised my mother a “Hallowsween horse,” her tone had been terribly cheerful. She would allow that she was not wild about horses—“I don’t have to love them,” she would tell my mother, “because you love them enough for both of us”—but my mother suspected that in fact my grandmother had a horror of them.

Friday, January 13, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt five)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

In the next one—Gilbey’s gin—I found a plastic shopping bag from New Rose Records in Paris. It once held either Fire of Love or a Johnny Thunders live album, depending on which visit to New Rose it was from. Now it contained a floppy black felt hat with a wide brim. That, an unopened box of blank TDK cassettes, and an “Aquarian” deck of tarot cards bought at Spencer Gifts in the Columbia Mall when I was thirteen turned out to be all there was in the Gilbey’s box. I scowled at the hat, trying to place it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt four)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

My grandfather often felt frustrated or baffled by my grandmother’s illness, but when it came to the origins of the Skinless Horse he though he understood. The Skinless Horse was a creature sworn to pursue my grandmother no matter where she went on the face of the globe, whispering to her in the foulest terms of her crimes and the blackness of her soul. There was a voice like that in everyone’s head, he figured; in my grandmother’s case it was just a matter of degree. You could almost see the Skinless Horse as a clever adaptation, a strategy for survival evolved by a proven survivor. If you kept the voice inside your head, the way most people did, there could really be only one way to silence it. He admired the defiance, the refusal to surrender, involuntary but implicit in the act of moving that reproachful whisperer to a shadowy corner of a room, an iron furnace in a cellar, the branches of a grand old tree.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt three)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

At 11:39 a.m., when an O-ring failed and the shuttle began to break apart, my grandfather was at her grave in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. He didn’t learn of the disaster until he got back to his motor lodge in Center City and turned on the television.

He sat without moving, without blinking or breathing, as a flower of fire bloomed on a stem of vapor. In that and subsequent replays he watched fragments of the disintegrated spacecraft snake across the sky, wandering, doubling back, as if blindly searching for one another in the blue.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt two)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

My grandparents’ farmhouse, one eleven acres outside Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, had neither nuns nor sheep. But there was a meadow and an apple orchard, and my grandfather had spent their first winter building hives and honeycomb frames according to plans in a book from the public library. He had taken out a lease on the property in anticipation of my grandmother’s discharge from her first hospitalization, from late 195 to late 1954. He had hoped the place might carry her back to the remembered sweetness of the Carmel.

The apples had proved stony. The special-order French bees were prey to wanderlust and ennui. But from her first sight of the farmhouse, with its gingerbread, tangle of roses, and fresh coat of whitewash, my grandmother had conceded to my grandfather’s logic. She emerged from that first time at Greystone in a fragile and quiet state, holding herself like an egg balanced on a spoon, but for the next twenty-eight months they lived on the farm in relative contentment. No angel inspired her to bare the prophecies of her body to fellow passengers on buses or trolley cars. She abandoned the bouts of prolonged fasting that rendered her skin translucent to an inner light equivalent in her mind to the Christ of her guardian nuns. She found work, taking leads in three productions at the prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse and being cast in a small role in a Broadway revival of Ah! Wilderness that closed out of town. Until the spring of 1957 the Skinless Horse had kept its gibes and railleries to itself.

Monday, January 9, 2017

the last book I ever read (Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon, excerpt one)

from Moonglow: A Novel by Michael Chabon:

“Did I tell you,” he said, lolling on his palliative cloud, “about the time I dropped a kitten out of the window?”

I did not say, then or at any point until he sank into the cloud for good, that he had told me very little about his life. I had yet to hear about the attack on the president of Feathercombs, Inc., so I could not point out to him that I sensed a motif of defenestration beginning to emerge in his autobiography. Later, when he did tell me about Miss Mangel, the intercom, and the Czech diplomat, I would choose to skip the smark remark.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt eleven)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

They pitched forward into the black night, choking with laughter. A fly crushed its wings on the windshield. Emeka squirted water from the wipers. Bits of fly washed away in the water. Emeka chuckled. It is impossible, Job thought. Three women at once? Just a boy? Maybe he’d gone too far with that justification. Still, no matter. They’d been at it all night, laughing, reminiscing over things that had never happened rather than the things that did.

Job: I wrestled five men once, beat them all in. They were akatta basketball players, tall as giants.

Emeka: Donald Trump, that man is asking me to work for him, but me, I have no time for this. I told him, me, I will think it over.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt ten)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

Fela. “Zombie. Perfect. First the racing bass line with the low hum of the drums and then the horns. She didn’t know how to move to it. She tried anyway, a stiff, forced jerking right then left. She rocked forward and backwards on her toes. Snapping her fingers was difficult with the beer in her hand, so she set it down. Can sweat left a wet print on the edge of the player. Job resisted the impulse to rush to the kitchen, find a coaster, and place it beneath the beer. At the garage sale, the man had said the record player was one of a kind. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore. It’s got the real sound. Not that fake digital shit.

Not that fake digital shit. That’s what he had said to Ifi when he brought it home, when he moved the eight-track player, another find, to make room for it on the table. All the while Ifi had stood with her arms crossed in front of her chest. When the Fela record came, she gave in. He could hear her playing the record in the morning, in the evening while Victor wailed for hours. As soon as he woke, Victor began the wail with the horns. After a while, they couldn’t tell if he was crying or simply singing along.

Friday, January 6, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt nine)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

Job emptied cans of pork and beans into a pot and heated them. After dishing for Ifi, he scraped away the burnt bottoms of the pots. Hot mugs of Ovaltine, sweet with evaporated milk, would finish the meal. Ifi did not eat. She did not drink. Is it because of Cheryl or Victor? he wondered.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt eight)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

One evening, Victor announced that he would play for the Super Eagles when he grew up. The ripple of pleasure that spread through the crowd of Nigerians filled Job with such pride that he made a point to purchase cleats, shin guards, and a small jersey. From then on, to the nods of onlookers, Victor stylishly paraded the fields, kicking and elbowing past the little boys in their miniature soccer game. Victor wasn’t exactly good, but the key, he had discovered, was to elbow, push, and pull the other players around, preventing them from scoring.

Only the mothers complained, confirming Victor’s certainty about the purpose of all mothers. He was neither resentful of nor charmed by this affirmation. He unquestioningly acknowledged this fact, as he accepted the fact that the sky was blue. At once he became the most hated child on the field by mothers and fathers alike. Mothers were straightforward in their contempt, attempting to revive their whimpering boys. To save face, fathers declined to intervene, sometimes siding with Victor, insisting that a scraped knee or a bloodied nose was the cost of a hard-fought game before reluctantly shoving their trembling sons back into battle.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt seven)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

Underneath the piles of magazines, he noticed a book: Lonely Planet: Nigeria. He thumbed through the pages, recognizing the names of towns and monuments. There was a brief explanation of the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Hausa, and the Fulani. Someone had underlined passages and made notes. He pulled the book close to his nose. In astonishment, he read a question that someone had penned: Is he Yoruba or Igbo?

Just then, Cheryl returned to the room, her hands full with two mugs of coffee. At the sight of him thumbing through her book, her pale complexion colored. He couldn’t help but smile. She wants to know about me, he thought. There were things that no one knew about him. All of his years of being acquainted with Gladys, and she knew so little about him. Sharing a bed and a home with Ifi had at first convinced him that she knew him inside and out. Now, he realized that it just wasn’t true. Cheryl, on the other hand, had the wherewithal to wonder about him. He felt the pride a man should.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt six)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

For a long time he thought. “Yeah, I guess there ain’t a lot to do here.” After a moment, his eyes flashed eagerly. “Last year we went on a field trip to see the cranes.” He twitched eagerly. “The sandhill cranes. They come from all over the world. All over. And they stop just to rest and get fat before they go the rest of the way. Take her there. People come from all over the world to see.”

Monday, January 2, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt five)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

A boy entered the kitchen, headed straight to the fridge, and rifled through it until he found a bottle of mustard.

“I just couldn’t. In America, people are free. American women wouldn’t stand for that mess.”

“I am no man’s property,” Ifi said in anger. “I have come from my own free will.”

“I mean, I guess I don’t blame you. It’s a better life here, right?”

Again, Ifi was stunned. “What do you mean ‘better life’?”

Sunday, January 1, 2017

the last book I ever read (Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya, excerpt four)

from Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya:

Both men looked up at the sound of a creak. Balancing the same mugs glistening with melting snow, once again his daughter stood in the doorway. Silently, she regarded them, a look like her mother’s, a look too grown for her five-year-old legs, the rounded belly like her father’s, and the messy braids piled on top of her head. Stupid girl, Job thought. He was glad to have a son, a boy.