Friday, June 30, 2023

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

from Desperate Characters: A Novel by Paula Fox:

She was bloated; it must have been the beer. Her body was not her own any more, but had taken off in some direction of its own. In this last year she had discovered that its discomforts, once interpreted, always meant the curtailment, or end, of some pleasure. She could not eat and drink the way she once had. Inexorably, she was being invaded by elements that were both gross and risible. She had only recently realized that one was old for a long time.

She pulled her slip off and dropped it in the straw basket she used for her personal laundry. The unvarnished straw tore her stockings, but she wouldn’t replace the basket, either out of inertia or as a small defiance against practicality. She stripped off the rest of her clothes. A bottle of Guerlain perfume had turned to alcohol but still she patted some over her beery belly. Then she went down the hall and into the bedroom, where she found her nightgown on the floor where she had left it.

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