Thursday, April 2, 2020

the last book I ever read (Night Boat to Tangier: A Novel by Kevin Barry, excerpt eleven)

from Night Boat to Tangier: A Novel by Kevin Barry:

He felt older than his time. He feared his own reflection in the lit windows of the Spanish evening. He believed there was age gone onto him. His face had a sunken look. He could make out his own skull in it. He felt the worms in his mouth. His body was a cavern of death. He was thirty-six years to fucken Jesus. (He felt with a cool certainty that he’d be dead by thirty-seven.) He went to a bar on Calle Marqués del Arco and ate fried fish and thin slices of jamón ravenously and drank the inky rioja and cold beer from the tap and wept openly and nobody paid any attention to him at all. A fat blind child sang on a TV talent show and the bar was agog and the patrons began to clap along with the song—it was a Spanish translation of an old Carpenters’ number, and all of the child’s chins rolled. Maurice Hearne was so moved that a seep of vomit rose up in his throat. He stuffed a heel of bread down his throat to tamp it.

The note in Segovia that winter was tragic-comical, capricious, beautiful.

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