Wednesday, May 8, 2024

the last book I ever read (A Hall of Mirrors by Robert Stone, excerpt three)

from A Hall of Mirrors by Robert Stone:

But I got to come back, she thought. Woody, that was his name, had not had the .38 that night and she was alive. Best probably to go back to West Virginia when she had the money. If she could get a job in New Orleans she might get it together. But then there wasn’t anyone much back home. Her mother was long dead and her father had died in Cleveland without an address anybody knew. An old unknown aunt still lived in Welch, but any other family she had were in Birmingham or Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago. Everybody was leaving – the mines were mostly closed or closing; the men took their full unemployment, sat around drinking and watching television for six months and then packed up.

Geraldine watched the sky, dark now, and the towers, glowing like the lights of a city. Like Birmingham.

She and L.J. had gone to Birmingham after they were married – she was sixteen then, he was around eighteen – they had gone down looking for work. Rotten it had been. The rooming house was rotten, the baby was all the time catching cold, like back there in Galveston it seemed always to rain. And L.J., whose family was Hard Shell and temperance, had started in to drink most of the time. He was always out, hanging around – they were always broke.

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