Saturday, June 17, 2017

the last book I ever read (Denis Johnson's Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond, excerpt six)

from Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond by Denis Johnson:

The Children of the Light are not children. Most of them appear to be in their seventies. They are the Elect, living as virgins and eunuchs in the Reign of Heaven, and they do not expect to die. They number nineteen—a dozen women and seven men. They grow their own food, raise their own buildings, and make most of their clothes out of white linen imported from Scotland. They offer nothing for sale and solicit no contributions. All but one has taken the name of a stone.

When I visited them in 1981 I found their leader, Opal, a tall woman in her late seventies, tearing turnips up out of the earth in one of the gardens. On her vest of white linen her identification was embroidered in gold thread: ELECT OPAL. She wore a denim skirt and tennis shoes and the sweat poured off her. “It’ll be time for water soon,” she told me. I wondered why she didn’t just stoop down and drink from the faucet two yards away, but I didn’t ask. I sensed that nothing I knew applied here.

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