Thursday, May 30, 2019

the last book I ever read (Blue Angel: A Novel by Francine Prose, excerpt three)

from Blue Angel: A Novel by Francine Prose:

Swenson finds it trying to walk anywhere with student. Conversation’s tough enough when everyone stands in one place. Forward movement creates so many chances for awkward stalls and collisions, decisions about who goes first, right or left, minicrises that make one conscious of authority and position. Does the student respectfully stand aside and usher Swenson through the doorway, or does Swenson, in loco parentis, hold the door for the kid? And is everything different depending on whether the student is male or female?

You bet it’s different if the student is female. Crossing the quad with Angela, Swenson’s acutely aware that he might walk one inch too close and someone will report them for holding hands. At least the quad’s nearly empty. Another advantage of ending class early is that they’re spared the traffic jam between classes, the saying hello to everyone just in case you happen to know them. Looking up at the high windows of granite Claymore, Thackeray, Comstock Hall, he wonders who’s looking down.

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