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.

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