“Miguel Auristos Blanco liked weapons, if only as toys, he had never used one in anger. On his sun-spangled lawn in Parati he regularly did target practice, sometimes with a bow and arrow, sometimes with a light hunting rifle in front of the patiently receptive round board. A Steady Hand Makes a Calm Spirit was the title of the book in which he elaborated on how when shooting one must become...
daniel kehlmann, fame
“A few weeks previously, he had given a lecture at the Academy of Mainz about the ongoing death of culture and the fact that this was not necessarily a bad thing, since humanity would be in better shape without the burden of knowledge and tradition. This was now the age of the image, of the sounds of rhythms and a mystical dissolution into the eternal present — a religious ideal become...
“For me, the priesthood was work made meaningful by ritual: God most present in the ceremonies of the Church, which begin as metaphor to make His presence tangible to man, then go beyond metaphor at the Eucharist when God becomes real and present in my hands, and I bring Him down from the altar to the people, where there is the intimacy of giving Communion to men and women whose sins and...
I didn’t know what to say, so I told her this room had been Charles...– John Reimringer, Vestments | Milkweed Editions 09.07.10
john reimringer, vestments
“Dad sped up to about thirty, and we swung along Kellogg where it swept between the Mississippi and downtown: on one side lampposts and sidewalks overlooking the river and the Wabasha and Robert Street bridges, on the other a cliff face of stone and brick buildings broken by side streets. We passed West Publishing and the main post office and the Depot Bar where the postal workers drank,...
“Lola Faye shook her head. ‘Not when it’s real, Luke.’ She lowered her eyes a bit, then lifted them and offered a bizarrely cheerful smile. ‘Your daddy liked Debbie,’ she said brightly. ‘He said she was down-to-earth.’ She smiled quite warmly, but it was a heat her eyes drained away. ‘Opposites attract, they say.’” Point to Lola...
thomas h. cook, the last talk with lola faye
“So, Luke, what’s the last best hope of life?” First lines are important. Obviously. There are the ones that get remembered and quoted and bandied about, the ones that encapsulate some kind of truth. And there are bad ones, too, the Bulwer-Lytton winners, overwrought and purple. The vast majority can be considered successful if they catch your attention somewhat, or even if they...
jesse sublett, boiled in concrete
“‘Well, we all got our shortcomings.’ He snorted into the bandana and struggled to his feet. ‘Tell you what, I’m gonna lay down for a couple hours. Go over there to the bookshelf by the coatracks and borrow yourself Sweet Soul Music by Guralnick, That Texas Thing by B.B. Berry, and Rock of Ages by Ed Ward et al., plus whatever else looks like it might have something...
The headline read SURGEONS TAKE LARGE TUMOR OUT OF WOMAN. I scanned the text...– Jesse Sublett, Tough Baby | Viking Mystery and Suspense 1990 (out of print)
jesse sublett, tough baby
“The people I played with were fanatics for the blues, The blues had evolved more or less directly from traditional African music, the call-and-response chants of slaves in the fields, and the gospel singing of the poorest of the poor black cornfield workers in the Mississippi Delta. It was the legacy of black Americans, but we were hooked on it too. The guys in this particular band may have...
“If it was part of God’s plan, then suffering was not an evil but a blessing. This was something PW often said when preaching about sickness and pain. Cole had also heard him say that he would not be suffering so severely now unless God was punishing him. ‘And it’s for me to search my heart for what I’ve done to displease him.’ Cole thought he had a pretty good...
sigrid nunez, salvation city
“Cole clicked and clicked. There were thousands of articles, more than anyone could ever read. Cole was surprised so many of them were from long ago, way back before 2000. Had his parents read any of them? He supposed they must have, but he couldn’t remember them ever talking about a pandemic. It was not on the list of things they were always worried about, like identity theft or...
“I saw that an American cotton shirt that had cost twenty cents in 1935 will often be better made than almost anything you can buy today. But if you re-create that shirt, and you might have to go to Japan to do that, you wind up with something that needs to retail for around three hundred dollars. I started bumping into people who could make things.” But that overdetermination, the...
There’s something going on now -- there’s a quest... →
says William Gibson.
“The cab filled with the opening chords of Toots and the Maytals’ ‘Draw Your Brakes.’ ‘Aldous,’ said Aldous, to his iPhone.” That said, it would be a mistake to view the world Gibson and his characters work in as the same one we live in. If for no other reason than that his taste is too good and too universally applied (of course the imposing...
william gibson, zero history
“Addictions, he thought, turning right, toward Seven Dials’ namesake obelisk, started out like magical pets, pocket monsters. They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn’t seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions. And they were, his therapist in Basel had...
When I was a teenager, I used to play records and... →
Scarlett Thomas, reviewing William Gibson, in the NYT Book Review. She goes on to point out that Gibson’s genius is to “put some romance back into the digital world.” Despite this paragraph, I’d expected more of Thomas on Gibson — but when you consider where the piece was printed, it makes sense that you have to wade through a great deal of plot summary to get to any...
But then I started noticing it happening in my world as well. Blokes talking at...– Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 09.01.10
“Tragedy wasn’t about people living happily ever after in banal domesticity, but going beyond the rational into a different kind of knowledge on their way to certain death.” There’s a current of sadness here — and, well, one supposes there should be, with the main character beginning in mild depression, with a fixation on literary tragedy as an attractive choice on...
Perhaps the notebook was the novel. Maybe the whole novel could take place...– Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 09.01.10 (didn’t I say something about self-awareness?)
scarlett thomas, our tragic universe
“The Newman review came far more easily than I’d thought. I ended up just summarising his argument, which, like most long and complicated things, including great tragedies and anyone’s life story, sounded far more crazy and improbable in 800 words than it ever could in 80,000. In the end, the book trashed itself.” Well, on the one hand, it’s awfully pleasant in a...
Now that it was too late, he went in search of her. He drove by feel, as Helen...– Matthew Sharpe, You Were Wrong | Bloomsbury USA 09.05.10
“But to call the coat bright red was not adequate. It had something in it — blue, maybe — that stained the retina. Nearly everything and everyone had something in it or them that you didn’t notice at first, and if you did eventually notice it you semiconsciously elided or erased the noticing because you needed to conserve your limited energy even though you were beginning...
A Martian visiting this section of Long Island, unable to decipher signs...– Matthew Sharpe, You Were Wrong | Bloomsbury USA 09.05.10
matthew sharpe, you were wrong
“I would kill to have your life. If I had your life I would devote my life to relaxation, I would be so good at pool I would be Jackie Gleason, I would be so good at pool I wouldn’t care that I wasn’t good at piano and was only a math teacher, not that I think some people shouldn’t be math teachers, imagine the world without them, but the point is I can’t have your...
“‘I didn’t realize how shitty I was acting,’ said Dakota Fanning. ‘I’m not extreme enough. The only eason anyone could say why I act differently than how I say I want to act is because I’m selfish and don’t care as much as I say or don’t really understand what it means to be in a relationship or that I am too comfortable with you. I feel...
“‘I think I feel indifferent to you right now,’ said Haley Joel Osment in an email. ‘I don’t know. It is depressing because I want to like you because probably I won’t ever meet anyone like you, but I can easily meet someone who, in other ways, like considerateness and thoughtfulness, I would like more than you.’” Part of the effect of naturalizing...
tao lin, richard yates
“‘Something is wrong with me,’ said Haley Joel Osment. ‘I’m going.’ They each said good night. Haley Joel Osment stared at the computer screen. He rode the N train to his apartment. He looked at for-sale flyers on a bulletin board in the laundry room. He stood in an elevator. He boiled organic angel-hair pasta and carried a bowl of it to his room and sat on the...
hellhoundonmytrail: Robert Johnson “Hellhound On...
“‘We’re the same, you and me, Nick. Two white men trying to be a part of the blues. Do you think you’re better than me? That you have more of a right to those records? It’s the same thing. We both want them to make us famous. I doubt if Robert Johnson would’ve looked either one of us in the eye.’” Kind of a nice note to hit, here, in a late...
ace atkins, crossroad blues
“He’d always remembered what momma told him when he finally stopped tryin’ to play the guitar. When he found out there wasn’t no music in him — that he couldn’t be like E. She looked at him, huggin’ him as the tears streamed down his face, and rubbed his back. ‘That’s all right, Jesse. Maybe you have another talent, just as good as Elvis. Just...
At Grand Slams like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open,... →
“Anybody else would have just bought their tickets with their own money. But ATP health insurance was dependent upon how much you bought into it. Which meant for me, it was crap. My measly pittance from Combover had left me with less money than I had had when I was eighteen years old. After the last round of medical bills had been paid, I probably had $200 in my bank account. Maybe...
nic brown, doubles
“It was hard for me to picture the actual events in color. This had been the epicenter of American tennis, and now it was the dark space that halted Katie and me in our flight from Brah. Inside those stands were the old locker rooms, where Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner actually took showers between the sets in the ’60s, where the national tennis mystique was cultivated. I had once...