Sunday, November 26, 2017

the last book I ever read (Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, excerpt three)

from Manhattan Beach: A Novel by Jennifer Egan:

Anna had ridden bicycles before. You could rent them in Prospect Park for fifteen cents, and cycling there had been a popular weekend activity among boys and girls from Brooklyn College. This was different. It was a man’s Schwinn, first of all, with a bar inconveniently placed so that Anna had to pedal standing up to be sure she wouldn’t land on it. Maybe standing was what made the difference. Whatever it was, from the instant she pushed down on the pedals and the bike began to bump over the bricks, Anna felt as though lightning had touched her. Motion performed alchemy on her surroundings, transforming them from a disjointed array of scenes into a symphonic machine she could soar through invisibly as a seagull. She rode wildly, half laughing, the sooty wind filling her mouth. That first day she was too excited to eat, too worried about being late to take any chances on egg salad. She was back on her stool at 12:10 and starved the rest of the day, hands trembling as she held her micrometer, a strange electric joy swerving through her.

The next morning she worked furiously to make the time go faster, and had finished three quarters of her tray when the whistle blew. Nell was waiting with the bicycle. Anna rode that day in the direction of the building ways, cycling past their porous iron latticework several times and glimpsing, within shadowy vectors, a hull so vast it looked primordial. The USS Missouri. Having heard its name murmured since she’d arrived at the Yard, Anna found it uncanny, almost frightening, to actually see it. The thing itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment