Friday, August 30, 2019

the last book I ever read (What You Have Heard Is True by Carolyn Forché, excerpt six)

from What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance by Carolyn Forché:

In the beginning, I thought that these meetings and conversations with others were randomly undertaken, but as time went on, I noticed that after visiting a village with no running water or electricity, talking by the light of a cook fire, finding my way in the dark to the latrine and back among the braying animals and clucking hens, he would next bring me to an elegant house owned by a coffee grower or cotton farmer, or someone in the shrimping business, and we would be served by maids, and while the men talked, I would be led by the lady of the house onto terraces overlooking gardens and be told the names of the trees, and how pleased she was that her European species were now thriving among the date palms and bottlebrushes. We would talk about her children, away at school in Switzerland or the United States, and then we would run out of things to say.

There was nothing random about the meetings. Each seemed a puzzle piece to be locked into place so as to reveal a picture he imagined he was showing me.

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