Wednesday, February 27, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt twelve)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

What business had the Bradshaws to talk of death at her party? A young man had killed himself. And they talked of it at her party—the Bradshaws, talked of death. He had killed himself—but how? Always her body went through it first, when she was told, suddenly, of an accident; her dress flamed, her body burnt. He had thrown himself from a window. Up had flashed the ground; through him, blundering, bruising, went the rusty spikes. There he lay with a thud, thud, thud in his brain, and then a suffocation of blackness. So she saw it. But why had he done it? And the Bradshaws talked of it at her party!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt eleven)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

She said she loved Bach. So did Hutton. That was the bond between them, and Hutton (a very bad poet) always felt that Mrs. Dalloway was far the best of the great ladies who took an interest in art. It was odd how strict she was. About music she was purely impersonal. She was rather a prig. But how charming to look at! She made her house so nice if it weren’t for her Professors. Clarissa had half a mind to snatch him off and set him down at the piano in the back room. For he played divinely.

“But the noise!” she said. “The noise!”

“The sign of a successful party.” Nodding urbanely, the Professor stepped delicately off.

“He knows everything in the whole world about Milton,” said Clarissa.

Monday, February 25, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt ten)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

As for Buckingham Palace (like an old prima donna facing the audience all in white) you can’t deny it a certain dignity, he considered, nor despise what does, after all, stand to millions of people (a little crowd was waiting at the gate to see the King drive out) for a symbol, absurd though it is; a child with a box of bricks could have done better, he thought; looking at the memorial to Queen Victoria (whom he could remember in her horn spectacles driving through Kensington), its white mound, its billowing motherliness; but he liked being ruled by the descendant of Horsa; he liked continuity; and the sense of handing on the traditions of the past. It was a great age in which to have lived. Indeed, his own life was a miracle; let him make no mistake about it; here he was, in the prime of life, walking to his house in Westminster to tell Clarissa that he loved her. Happiness is this, he thought.

It is this, he said, as he entered Dean’s Yard. Big Ben was beginning to strike, first the warning, musical; then the house, irrevocable. Lunch parties waste the entire afternoon, he thought, approaching his door.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt nine)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Proportion, divine proportion, Sir William’s goddess, was acquired by Sir William walking hospitals, catching salmon, begetting one son in Harley Street by Lady Bradshaw, who caught salmon herself and took photographs scarcely to be distinguished from the work of professionals. Worshipping proportion, Sir William not only prospered himself but made England prosper, secluded her lunatics, forbade childbirth, penalized despair, made it impossible for the unfit to propogate their views until they, too, shared his sense of proportion—his, if they were men, Lady Bradshaw’s if they were women (she embroidered, knitted, spent four nights out of seven at home with her son), so that not only did his colleagues respect him, his subordinates fear him, but the friends and relations of his patients felt for him the keenest gratitude for insisting that these prophetic Christs and Christesses, who prophesied the end of the world, or the advent of God, should drink milk in bed, as Sir William ordered; Sir William with his thirty years’ experience of these kinds of cases, and his infallible instinct, this is madness, this sense; in fact, his sense of proportion.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt eight)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Lady Bruton preferred Richard Dalloway of course. He was made of much finer material. But she wouldn’t let them run down her poor dear Hugh. She could never forget his kindness—he had been really remarkably kind—she forgot precisely upon what occasion. But he had been—remarkably kind. Anyhow, the difference between one man and another does not amount to much. She had never seen the sense of cutting people up, as Clarissa Dalloway did—cutting them up and sticking them together again; not at any rate when one was sixty-two. She took Hugh’s carnations with her angular grim smile. There was nobody else coming, she said. She had got them there on false pretences, to help her out of a difficulty—

“But let us eat first,” she said.

Friday, February 22, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt seven)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

London has swallowed up many millions of young men called Smith; thought nothing of fantastic Christian names like Septimus with which their parents have thought to distinguish them. Lodging off the Euston Road, there were experiences, again experiences, such as change a face in two years from a pink innocent oval to a face lean, contracted, hostile. But of all this what could the most observant of friends have said except what a gardener says when he opens the conservatory door in the morning and finds a new blossom on his plant:--It has flowered; flowered from vanity, ambition, idealism, passion, loneliness, courage, laziness, the usual seeds, which all muddled up (in a room off the Euston Road), made him shy, and stammering, made him anxious to improve himself, made him fall in love with Miss Isabel Pole, lecturing in the Waterloo Road upon Shakespeare.

Was he not like Keats? she asked; and reflected how she might give him a taste of Antony and Cleopatra and the rest; lent him books; wrote him scraps of letters; and lit in him such a fire as burns only once in a lifetime, without heat, flicking a red gold flame infinitely ethereal and insubstantial over Miss Pole; Antony and Cleopatra; and the Waterloo Road. He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; dreamed of her, wrote poems to her, which, ignoring the subject, she corrected in red ink; he saw her, one summer evening, walking in a green dress in a square. “It has flowered,” the gardener might have said, had he opened the door; had he come in, that is to say, any night about this time, and found him writing; found him tearing up his writing; found him finishing a masterpiece at three o’clock in the morning and running out to pace the streets, and visiting churches, and fasting one day, drinking another, devouring Shakespeare, Darwin, The History of Civilisation, and Bernard Shaw.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt six)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Oddly enough, she was one of the most thoroughgoing sceptics he had ever met, and possibly (this was a theory he used to make up to account for her, so transparent in some ways, so inscrutable in others), possibly she said to herself, As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship (her favourite reading as a girl was Huxley and Tyndall, and they were fond of these nautical metaphors), as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the sufferings of our fellow-prisoners (Huxley again); decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can. Those ruffians, the Gods, shan’t have it all their own way,--her notion being that the Gods, who never lost a chance of hurting, thwarting and spoiling human lives were seriously put out if, all the same, you behaved like a lady. That phase came directly after Sylvia’s death—that horrible affair. To see your own sister killed by a falling tree (all Justin Parry’s fault—all his carelessness) before your very eyes, a girl too on the verge of life, the most gifted of them, Clarissa always said, was enough to turn one bitter. Later she wasn’t so positive perhaps; she thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt five)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Those five years—1918 to 1923—had been, he suspected, somehow very important. People looked different. Newspapers seemed different. Now for instance there was a man writing quite openly in one of the respectable weeklies about water-closets. That you couldn’t have done ten years ago—written quite openly about water-closets in a respectable weekly. And then this taking out a stick of rouge, or a powder-puff and making up in public. On board ship coming home there were lots of young men and girls—Betty and Bertie he remembered in particular—carrying on quite openly; the old mother sitting and watching them with her knitting, cool as a cucumber. The girl would still and powder her nose in front of every one. And they weren’t engaged; just having a good time; no feeling hurt on either hide. As hard as nails she was—Betty What’shername--; but a thorough good sort. She would make a very good wife at thirty—she would marry when it suited her to marry; marry some rich man and live in a large house near Manchester.

Who was it now who had done that? Peter Walsh asked himself, turning into the Broad Walk,--married a rich man and lived in a large house near Manchester? Somebody who had written him a long, gushing letter quite lately about “blue hydrangeas.” It was seeing blue hydrangeas that made her think of him and the old days—Sally Seton, of course! It was Sally Seton—the last person in the world one would have expected to marry a rich man and live in a large house near Manchester, the wild, the daring, the romantic Sally!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt four)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Well, I’ve had my fun; I’ve had it, he thought, looking up at the swinging baskets of pale geraniums. And it was smashed to atoms—his fun, for it was half made up, as he knew very well; invented, this escapade with the girl; made up, as one makes up the better part of life, he thought—making oneself up; making her up; creating an exquisite amusement, and something more. But odd it was, and quite true; all this one could never share—it smashed to atoms.

Monday, February 18, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt three)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

Both seemed queer, Maisie Johnson thought. Everything seemed very queer. In London for the first time, come to take up a post at her uncle’s in Leadenhall Street, and now walking through Regent’s Park in the morning, this couple on the chairs gave her quite a turn; the young woman seeming foreign, the man looking queer; so that should she be very old she would still remember and make it jangle again among her memories how she had walked through Regent’s Park on a fine summer’s morning fifty years ago. For she was only nineteen and had got her way at last, to come to London; and now how queer it was, this couple she had asked the way of, and the girl started and jerked her hand, and the man—he seemed awfully odd; quarrelling, perhaps; parting for ever, perhaps; something was up, she knew; and now all these people (for she returned to the Broad Walk), the stone basins, the prim flowers, the old men and women, invalids most of the in Bath chairs—all seemed, after Edinburgh, so queer. And Maisie Johnson, as she joined that gently trudging, vaguely gazing, breeze-kissed company—squirrels perching and preening, sparrow fountains fluttering for crumbs, dogs busy with the railings, busy with each other, while the soft warm air washed over them and lent to the fixed unsurprised gaze with which they received life something whimsical and mollified—Maisie Johnson positively felt she must cry Oh! (For that young man on the seat had given her quite a turn. Something was up, she knew.)

Sunday, February 17, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt two)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

For she could stand it no longer. Dr. Holmes might say there was nothing the matter. Far rather would she that he were dead! She could not sit beside him when he stared so and did not see her and made everything terrible; sky and tree, children playing, dragging carts, blowing whistles, falling down; all were terrible. And he would not kill himself; and she could tell no on. “Septimus has been working too hard”—that was all she could say to her own mother. To love makes one solitary, she thought. She could tell nobody, not even Septimus now, and looking back, she saw him sitting in his shabby overcoat alone, on the seat, hunched up, staring. And it was cowardly for a man to say he would kill himself, but Septimus had fought; he was brave; he was not Septimus now. She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her. Nothing could make her happy without him! Nothing! He was selfish. So men are. For he was not ill. Dr. Holnes said there was nothing the matter with him. She spread her hand before her. Look! Her wedding ring slipped—she had grown so thin. It was she who suffered—but she had nobody to tell.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

the last book I ever read (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, excerpt one)

from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway:

She would have been, in the first place, dark like Lady Bexborough, with a skin of crumpled leather and beautiful eyes. She would have been, like Lady Bexborough, slow and stately; rather large; interested in politics like a man; with a country house; very dignified, very sincere. Instead of which she had a narrow pea-stick figure; a ridiculous little face, beaked like a bird’s. That she held herself well was true; and had nice hands and feet; and dressed well, considering that she spent little. But often now this body she wore (she stopped to look at a Dutch picture), this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing—nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt ten)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

They had gone to the country. It was Sunday morning, she was reading the paper on paper, with coffee, by a fire. There was a deer park outside, maybe 100 little deer with spots on their sides, exactly like Bambi except tick-infested and real, engaging in play antler-wrestling and trotting races and kneeling down to chew and all kinds of other extremely interesting and distinctive deer behaviour. Oaks too, an impeccable landscape that in itself at once depended on and concealed all kinds of colonial atrocities, seemingly natural but totally false, anyway it was beautiful and she was in it and newly awake and disinclined to have to grapple with the potential end of all life. 2017 was turning into a bumper year, a doozy, everything arse about tit.

In the hotel sitting room the previous night, Kathy had lain on a sofa reading Christopher and His Kind with a carafe of red wine. It was one of her favourite books, she loved little Christopher zipping back and forward between the present day I and the Chris of I am a Camera and 1920s Berlin, reprimanding his younger self and thus subtly burnishing his witty and insightful present-day being. But she kept being distracted by a conversation in the adjoining room. She suggested by mime that her husband close the door, but it wasn’t closable and so instead they sat there, the unwilling audience to an invisible and disheartening play. There were two people, a man and a woman. They didn’t know each, they appeared to have been drawn into conversation over dinner. The woman was doing most of the talking. She was Scottish, he was Irish, she said, they were soulmates already. He coughed a little laugh, possibly because she had the most piercing English accent Kathy had ever heard. It was impossible not to listen, her voice went echoing through the rooms, you could probably hear it from space, certainly the deer park. She was talking about Japan, how she went to a restaurant in Hiroshima, a very unfrequented restaurant down an alley, no tourists ever went there, the whole menu was in Japanese and when they left all the staff came out of the kitchen to wave them off, it was so sweet. I thought you were her agent, the man said. Her body language seemed so dead, I thought it must be a business relationship. No, said the woman, evidently stung, no, that’s mothers and daughters for you, that’s how they are. I don’t know if you have family (ARE YOU GAY ARE YOU GAY) I don’t know if you have family, children, parents, cousins, but they don’t always like you very much, they think you’re a fool, and you just have to take it on the chin. Her daughter was called Nadia, her daughter was not happy, not to invade her privacy but her daughter wasn’t happy at all, she had a great job in marketing, a terrific job, it was more that she wasn’t happy with her life.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt nine)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

The next day, 31 August 2017, was Kathy’s husband’s birthday. Since it was the first time ever she had celebrated someone’s birthday as their wife she got up at 6:30 and went into the damp cold garden and cut him a pink dahlia, a lolly on a stick. She made tea and set out a tray, with his card, a deep-sea diver waving, and his present, profoundly expensive cashmere socks, far better than hers, which she sort of knew were a size too small. She opened his door just as he had silenced the radio and was pulling the duvet back over his head. A small animal, warm and breathy in its burrow. She climbed in beside him and cuddled up. His tea had to be made a very particular way, it involved several implements; hers was a bag. He was extremely excited by the tray. He was chief fusser in their lives, it was good for him to receive. The socks were too small but he held them to his cheek all the same. The diver was him, waving keenly. Hello! Hello! Help!

Monday, February 11, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt eight)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

Within 24 hours it was all sorted, flights, hotels, sublets, the works. It was always like this, abominable, impossible and then done, barely worth a thought. Kathy emailed her friends, Matt + Carl + Larry + Alex. Mi living room es su living room, Larry said. He lived on C and 9th, she loved his couch. She and Carol expressed their ongoing sorrow and concern with regard to Sinéad O’Connor, who was going through a rough time publicly documented in YouTube videos neither of them could bear to watch. Poor beautiful Sinéad, Instead Kathy put on ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and gazed in awe at that choirboy’s face. She was hung over, she’d drunk a great deal yet again, but that phase of the summer was now behind them, they’d agreed to it over breakfast, 25 August 2017, painfully confronting the wreckage of the previous night, the chicken carcass in a pool of congealing fat, the damp remains of salad, the thirteen glasses with dregs of brandy and red wine. Thirteen her husband said. There shouldn’t be thirteen, and triumphantly he plucked an unused rummer from the mix. Now, they were teetotal, from this day forth they would spurn alcohols of all kinds, especially wine, even champagne. For at least a week they would be sober, their livers would shrink, they’d stop being so bilious and grumpy and fat. Kathy had put on three pounds this summer, pure booze + lack of yoga, she wrote a frantic email to her instructor begging to return. New people, married, toned, sheeny, eternal.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt seven)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

It was like a year had gone by in a single day. 18 August 2017. First Mary’s dog had been attacked and had to go to hospital, then there was an accident on the A14. Everyone was late, it was intolerable, she was so nervous, her body was an inhospitable territory she could never get out of. She breathed in various places. That was what you do, you breathe. The dog’s skin had been torn off on his flank, right where his leg joined his body, it was a bad wound, he’d be fine but right now he was scared and sore and about to be given general anaesthetic. Kathy loved that dog, he was pretty much her favourite person. She’d wanted him as a witness to her wedding, even if confined to a car boot and not actually able to view proceedings. Anyway she painted her eyelids with black lines that flicked at the rim. Anyway there was thunder, lightning, a biblical downpour, anyway she put hazel leaves around a china platter that had once belonged to Doris Lessing. They iced the cakes together, bickering. They stuck strawberries on, Kathy was competitive even on her wedding day.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt six)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

That was the morning that white people finally decided the President of the United States was a white supremacist, he’d as good as said so, there was a cartoon in the Guardian of the White House with a Klan hood over the roof. Why were people surprised, weren’t they listening to anything? Kathy read some threads from people on the far left, hysterical over weapons caches in Charlottesville. Here’s something you need to know: Caches of weapons were found throughout Rwanda after the genocide. This wasn’t about the CSA statue, but a test run for a militia takeover of a small city. I am sorry to bring you this tonight. There’s a bigger plan at work here. Please don’t doubt that. Take nothing for granted.

Friday, February 8, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt five)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

At King’s Cross she took the Piccadilly to Holloway Road and walked north. She stopped at the Costa to buy mineral water and proceeded to an alley off Seven Sisters Road. The artist occupied a windowless studio. Her work was very pure and strange, she’d invented a new technique that allowed her to incorporate motion, assembling her sculptures precariously so that they toppled or burst or otherwise deviated from authorial design inside the kiln. The new pieces were kinetic and disturbing, they contained dangling entrails and slabs of bacon, hide, balls, a donkey’s head, women’s dainty ankles and bare Barbie doll feet, petals, guts, cloaks and various internal organs. They weren’t representational, Kathy just kept being reminded of things she’d seen, rendered deliciously in the coolness of porcelain. There wasn’t any precedent, maybe a garden that was simultaneously a mass grave would give you the right feeling, or some sort of body soup, out of which a white world would shortly be created. They were that frightening, that generative and grossly pretty. The new owns had a component she hadn’t seen before, which looked like the spine of a dead dolphin. Kathy was not being whimsical, she’d seen the spine of a dead dolphin and this frighteningly ratcheted torted shape reminded her of it.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt four)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

What was more worrying was Trump and North Korea. People said nothing was going to happen, but since people by which she meant pundits had wholly and absolutely failed to predict any of the carnage of the past year, she doubted their reliability. She decided to look at his Twitter, to check it out. It was worse than she’d expected. He was retweeting Fox News about jets in Guam that could fight tonight, but he was also taking time out to trashtalk the FailingNewYorkTimes. My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before . . . . . . Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world! When? When had he done that? She missed Obama. She missed the sense of time as something serious and diminishing, she didn’t like living in the permanent present of the id.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt three)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

In the restaurant Kathy and her husband had an enormous fight. It started because she put two of his prosciutto and fig ciabattas on her plate. He had four, they were enormous doughy pillows, the same unpleasant temperature as the room. Her husband was furious but Kathy’s fury as ever was larger and less ambiguous. She maintained it at the same pitch for several hours, hissing and eye-rolling, the whole works. She had a vicious stomach ache, she might plausibly faint, there was a full moon but her husband couldn’t even follow the bouncing blue dot on Google Maps, craning over his phone with his mouth hanging open. She hated him, she hated any kind of warmth or dependency, she wanted to take up residence as an ice cube in a long glass of aqua frizzante. Anyway they sorted it out, after she’d banished him to the lobby and sweated alone for 45 minutes, examining the world by way of her scrying glass, Twitter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt two)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

It was their penultimate day in Italy. 5 August 2017. Her husband had been on the terrace, he relayed a conversation with the eminent psychiatrist. I only give second opinions, he’d said. I work on a knife-edge, I have to get it right. The people I see are wealthy, autocratic, psychotic, used to complete control – oh look there’s the lizard. Her husband loved lizards. This one was green, like an elegant crocodile, its legs moved like someone riding a bicycle. Periodically it stopped, lifted its head and sniffed the air. Now it was looking back over its shoulder, exposing a paler belly. Her husband was rapt, he looked bewitched. I just love it he said. Whole minutes of lizard watching are so rare. It’s coming back over here. What’s he doing now, behind the tree trunk? Probably hiding back in the flower bed now, don’t you think?

Monday, February 4, 2019

the last book I ever read (Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing, excerpt one)

from Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing:

Breakfast. Three triangles of watermelon, one cup of coffee, one pot of yoghurt, one small jar of honey. That’s how it went. Other people ate strawberry crostata or wholemeal croissants or heaven forbid eggs five ways and a selection of meats. The toga people were emerging, hungover and victorious. Hello Harry, hello Lordy. I woke up and I’ve got a stye. Bloody painful. No I’ve never had one, how have I bloody well got one today. They had conducted their festivities in a tent on the terrace. It was still there now, empty and doleful, poles festooned with ivy and small pale flowers. They were talking about the tower block that had burned down. I was comin along the Westway and there it was, all blackened said the stye woman. How many people died, eighty, eighty-five. But they don’t know yet. Fire that hot you don’t get bodies. What about bones. I think they do it by the teeth. Kathy’s husband pushed several grapes into his mouth at once. He was listening to a different conversation, between a guest and an Italian lawyer. I was brought up Catholic, Opus Dei, I know what it’s like, the lawyer said. Mafia, the guest said and the lawyer shrugged hugely.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

the last book I ever read (Kent Haruf's Plainsong, excerpt twelve)

from Plainsong by Kent Haruf:

You boys going to be all right? Harold said.

Yes sir.

Just holler if you need anything.

Holler loud, Raymond said. We don’t hear too good.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

the last book I ever read (Kent Haruf's Plainsong, excerpt eleven)

from Plainsong by Kent Haruf:

He stared at her. Then he closed his eyes and almost immediately drifted back to sleep. She returned to the front room. His wallet and keys were on the kitchen table inside his upturned cap, and she took money from his wallet and folded her meager belongings into a cardboard box together with her few toiletries, and tied a string around it, then left the apartment, wearing her new maternity pants but the same shirt she’d come in, with the same winter coat and red purse she’d had all along, and carrying the box by the string she went down the hall and stepped outside into the cold air. She walked fast to the bus stop and sat waiting there for more than an hour. Cars went by, people going to work or going early to church. A woman walking a white lapdog on a piece of ribbon. The air was chill and crisp, and westward above the city the foothills rose up stark and close, all red rocks now in the early morning sun, but the high dark snowy mountain ranges beyond were hidden from view. Finally the city bus came and she got on and sat looking at Sunday morning in Denver.

Friday, February 1, 2019

the last book I ever read (Kent Haruf's Plainsong, excerpt ten)

from Plainsong by Kent Haruf:

You’re saying she’s a cow is what you’re saying.

I’m not either saying that.

She’s a girl, for christsakes. She’s not a cow. You can’t rate girls and cows together.