Friday, October 25, 2019

the last book I ever read (Paradise by Donald Barthelme, excerpt six)

from Paradise by Donald Barthelme:

Simon enjoyed life as a ghost, one of the rewards of living in the great city. So many units rushing to and fro that nobody noticed anything much or had time to remark on strangers in the house, in the neighborhood. Sublets were everywhere, two men and a grand piano might pop up in your building any Wednesday. Maybe old blockwatchers of thirty years’ standing were keeping running censuses of the population, but Simon did not know the old blockwatchers and so felt comfortably anonymous. For amusement, he cooked, or went to a neighborhood movie. He saw The Benny Goodman Story and Silverado, the first with Anne and the second with Dore and Veronica. Dore and Veronica had not heard of Benny Goodman and thus weren’t interested; Anne didn’t like Westerns. “How can you not like Westerns?” Simon asked her, truly amazed, and she had said that when she was a child she had seen one in which Indians had tied a man to two bent-down saplings and then cut a rope and the saplings had rent the man into two distinct pieces and that she had never seen a Western since. Simon told her that not all Westerns had that kind of thing in them but she remained unpersuaded. Simon read, much of the time, and consulted with them on their plans.

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