Monday, April 24, 2017

the last book I ever read (South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion, excerpt three)

from South and West: From A Notebook by Joan Didion:

At Pass Christian in the summer of 1970 the debris of the 1969 hurricane had become the natural look of the landscape. The big houses along the water were abandoned, the schools and churches were wiped out, the windows of places hung askew. The devastation along the Gulf had an inevitability about it: the coast was reverting to its natural state. There were For Sale signs all over, but one could not imagine buyers. I remembered people talking about Pass Christian as a summer place, and indeed the house had once been pretty and white and the American flags unfaded, but even in the good years there must have been an uneasiness there. They sat on those screened porches and waited for something to happen. The place must have always failed at being a resort, if the special quality of a resort is defined as security: there is here that ominous white/dark light so characteristic of the entire Gulf.

The city hall in Pass Christian faces away from the Gulf, and when you happen upon it from the front it looks like a fa├žade from a studio back lot, abandoned a long time ago. Through the shattered windows one sees the dark glare of the Gulf. You want to close your eyes.

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