jess walter, the financial lives of the poets
Lt. Reese waves me off and stands. ‘I gotta get some air.’ He storms out of the room, although something about his eruption seems vaguely Arthur Miller-ish. ‘Okay,’ says Randy quietly. He leans forward, and I think maybe his smile means no more than a dog’s does. ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to get you out of this.’ Wait. I know...
laird hunt, ray of the star
“… which felt like an army of invisible termites was settling in for a long stay, or like someone had taken the content of an endless Tarkovsky movie and somehow shoved it under his skin, or like all the hair on his thighs and calves was growing inward at sickening speed …” … which is only part of a sentence, because Ray of the Star is composed entirely in...
“As for the Devil’s Pocket, he thought once in a while of the young citizens in the street with their bats and tire irons, but also imagined them now, wallowing all these years in what they were, with their bad teeth (though admittedly their own teeth) and dead-end work, and wives daydreaming of collecting insurance payments after they were killed on the job, and wished them nothing...
It mattered not a whit in Philadelphia if you were a frail, deaf elderly lady...– Pete Dexter, Spooner
pete dexter, spooner
“Her name was Honey, and she was a woman these days, and like so many women of Spooner’s acquaintance, she’d looked at him one way and seems to come all at once to her senses. It was always the same, like they’d wandered into a pet store and almost bought a monkey. There had been a load of them by now, these wives of his friends, women who gave off a certain playful,...
Blow - To leave, depart. E.G., “Did she blow last night?” Brick - A pound or...– List of slang and definitions from Brick (via thebarstoolromantic)
When they begin to kiss, Madeline remembers why she loves her husband in the...– Joe Meno, The Great Perhaps | Norton 05.11.09
“After that day, after watching the F-4 burn an entire village in a few static fractions of a second, Henry Casper will surrender himself to the television for another three months, waiting for the young Vietnamese girls to reappear… . At night, tucking Jonathan in, Henry will glance at the shadows of the winged dinosaurs and airplanes hanging over his boy’s head. He will...
joe meno, the great perhaps
“Usually Amelia does not like to walk at night by herself. Most of the time she feels that she is being followed by someone menacing — a maniacal sexual predator or an FBI surveillance team. Amelia often believes she is more important than she actually is, and that secretly, behind every corner, every parked car, every tree, someone, some important observer of history, is almost always...
muriel barbery, gourmet rhapsody
“Meat is virile, powerful; fish is strange and cruel. It comes from another world, a secret ocean that will never yield to us; it bears witness to the absolute relativity of our existence, and yet it offers itself to us through the ephemeral revelation of unknown realms.” Barbery is not as warm and patient, gentle and kind here, in this earlier book, as she is in The Elegance of the...
mark greif, "what you've done to my world"
On Fugazi, s/t: “Most of the music I knew from those classic rock radio stations had a habit of inviting you in, colluding with you in the feeling that you could belong, could take the standpoint of the singer. When Mick Jagger sings to get off of his cloud, you know he’s not talking to you, he’s addressing some other person—basically it’s a song for you to sing along...
‘What did the old man want?’ ‘Your husband’s money,...– Ross MacDonald, The Goodbye Look | Knopf 05.69
ross macdonald, the goodbye look
“She turned away from me abruptly, her white neck ridged with strain. ‘I’m not going to answer that,’ she said to Truttwell. ‘I didn’t hire a lawyer and a detective to dig up all the dirt in my own life. What kind of sense would that make?’” Like Jones says, the model here is therapy, rather than discovery or justice. Which makes this begging the...
“She had never been on a plane before and she was aware of the terrible, unfathomable distance between herself and the ground. She could sense the air quivering beneath her feet, a shudder of empty space, and she tried to avoid looking out the window. It wasn’t so bad to look out and see the thick meringue contours of clouds, but it was harder when the earth began to appear through....
Generally unenamored of the trend toward trailers for books, which are seldom of the quality of the thing they’re advertising, but this trailer uses one of the best extended passages from Await Your Reply, and it does so with an entirely fitting eeriness.
‘I can’t understand how people can settle for having just one life....– Dan Chaon, Await Your Reply | Ballantine 08.01.09
dan chaon, await your reply
“His hand lowered over hers, and she could feel the smooth pressure of his palm against the back of her hand, and he was, after all, possibly the only person left in the world who truly loved her.” With the exception of the determining, gendered pronouns, this description (and this kind of dependent loneliness) could fit just about anyone in the book. Ballantine 08.01.09
Tobias Jones on the crime novels of Ross Macdonald... →
“It’s such a cliche, and I said it so automatically; but the words seemed to whipcrack through the air startling and potent as electricity, rocketing down the ivy trails, burning white on the water. For a split second I was back in that first reeking stairwell with my hands in my pockets, looking up at that young junkie’s dead bewildered face. I was stone cold sober again, that...
“I was clear on one thing: neither Sam nor Frank needed to know about the SUV Prince, not until I had something a whole lot more concrete to tell them.” First the notebook, now the out-of-place guy stalking her in the abandoned countryside. Clearly things to keep close to her vest, to hide from her support and her superiors. Not only that — but now she’s seen a guy who...
tana french, the likeness
The initial problem is the set-up. It’s nicely managed, with a personal link between victim and investigator and a readymade path into undercover work — while they are strangers, they share an (assumed) identity and look the same. Of course, it’s a steep buy-in to reach the necessary level of willing suspension of disbelief that the narrative needs in order to move forward. ...
ross macdonald, the doomsters
“I went to the piano and picked out a one-finger tune. I quit when I recognized it: ‘Sentimental Journey.’ I took the conch shell and set it to my ear. Its susurrus sounded less like the sea than the labored breathing of a tiring runner. No doubt I heard what I was listening for.” Which is the thing that sets MacDonald apart from his predecessors; however hard-boiled...
Everything was as pretty as a postcard. The trouble with you, I said to myself:...– Ross MacDonald, The Doomsters (1958)
Amid the devastation of the city, standing on the roof of his drowned home,...– Dave Eggers, Zeitoun McSweeney’s 07.15.09
“As the prison awoke, Zeitoun examined the chainlink structure closely. It was about 150 feet long. The razor wire was new, the portable trailers new. The fencing was new and of high quality. He knew that none of this had existed before the storm. New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal had never before been used as a prison. He did some rough calculations in his mind.” And figures out...
plimpton: the smaller the ball, the better the... →
There is no faith like the faith of a builder of homes in coastal Louisiana.– Dave Eggers, Zeitoun McSweeney’s 07.15.09
david goodis, black friday
‘Leave it on,’ Mattone said. ‘It’s Dizzy Gillespie. I like Dizzy Gillespie.’ ‘It sounds like someone caught under a steamroller,’ Frieda said. ‘Not exactly,’ Mattone said. ‘It ain’t like what comes out of the mouth.’ For some moments the grin was gone, he’d stopped chewing on the steak, he was frowning thoughtfully. And...