Grief by Andrew Holleran:
When I finally climbed the stairs to my bedroom on the third floor, I lay down on the big low bed and stared at the single strand of ivy that had climbed to the top of a brick wall behind the house, and, beyond it, more rooftops and a building under construction. I was glad to be alone and at the same time apprehensive. When I turned on the lamp beside the bed the room looked like a hotel room in a strange city.
On the table by the bed were three books standing upright between two glass clowns that served as bookends—a murder mystery by Ruth Rendell, a book about Elizabeth Nietzsche’s Aryan colony in Paraguay, and Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters, by Justin and Linda Levitt Turner.