Tuesday, August 20, 2019

the last book I ever read (Colson Whitehead's The Nickel Boys, excerpt six)

from The Nickel Boys: A Novel by Colson Whitehead:

Strange medicine in an old green can. The boy gathered the word and intonations of a justice spell. Justice or revenge. No one wanted to admit it was a real plan they cooked up all along. They kept returning to it as Christmas approached, passing the idea between them so each considered its heft and cast. As the prank evolved from abstraction to something more solid, full or hows and whens and what-ifs, Desmond, Turner, and Jaime stopped including Elwood without realizing it. The prank was against his moral conscience. Hard to picture the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. dosing Governor Orval Faubus with a couple of ounces of lye. And Elwood’s beating at the White House had him scarred all over, not just his legs. It had weeviled deep into his personality. The way his shoulders sank when Spencer appeared, the flinch and shrink. He could only stand so much talk of revenge before the reality grabbed ahold of him.

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