Wednesday, June 28, 2023

the last book I ever read (Desperate Characters: A Novel by Paula Fox, excerpt two)

from Desperate Characters: A Novel by Paula Fox:

They turned up Henry Street. Otto noted with satisfaction that there was as much garbage here as in their own neighborhood. He wouldn’t consider buying a house on the Heights . . . horribly inflated prices, all that real-estate grinning in dusty crumbling rooms—think what you could do with that woodwork!—everyone knowing it was a put-up job, greed, low belly greed, get it while we can, house prices enunciated in refined accents, mortgages like progressive diseases, “I live on the Heights.” Of course, the Bentwoods’ neighborhood was on the same ladder, frantic lest the speculators now eying property were the “wrong” kind. Otto hated realtors, hated dealing with their nasty litigations. It was the only thing he and Charlie still agreed on. He sighed, thinking of the cop who had been checking on voter registration last week, who had said to Otto, “This area is really pulling itself together, doesn’t look like the same place it was two years ago. You people are doing a job!” And Otto had felt a murderous gratification.

“What are you sighing about?” Sophie asked.

“I don’t know.”

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