Proposition: ‘The human race is no longer... →
Toby Litt, “The Reader and Technology,” in Granta. I’m afraid that the pull-quote here is more poised and provocative than the rest of the essay, which gets a little muddled around the edges when Litt tries to imagine a future type of reading (“vague fields of possible meaning; more Charles Olson than Ezra Pound”), more muddled still when determining what will...
“I want to remind you of the shock and fear that God felt when he realized he was not the only god of the world. How do we know he knew? I am a jealous God and there is no other God beside me, he told the angels, and by so doing indicated that there were indeed other gods, or why would he be jealous? And as long as there is jealousy, how can there be freedom? And if God is not free how can...
Let me underscore the obvious here: Reading fiction is important. It is a vital...– Ann Patchett, on the no-prize fiction Pulitzer in “And the Winner Isn’t” (via irisblasi)
“So when Carl said, why do you take drugs?, she told him what she thought, told him the truth because the least such a question deserved was a real answer. She said, oh, who knows, there are so many good reasons and nobody mentions them and the main thing nobody mentions is the comfort of it, how good it is to be a slave to something, the regularity and the habit of addiction, the fact that...
jeet thayil, narcopolis
“She wondered at the men who designed such a garment. How much they must have feared their own desire. To want a woman to wear this thing you had to know the danger that lay in looking. You knew it and you knew your powerlessness and you dreamed up a costume to conceal the cause of your shame. But the costume only served to punish you further. It made you want to pluck out your eye, pluck it...
george pelecanos, the cut
“Lucas took her into Busboys and Poets, the bookstore and cafe that was bustling with activity, all sorts of faces and types, the D.C. most folks had wanted for a long time. He bought her a couple of novels: Lean on Pete and The Death of Sweet Mister. ‘Is there a reason you picked these out?’ said Constance as they stood before the register. ‘You mean, am I sending you a message.’ ‘Yeah, like when...
“You mean the full teledildonic enchilada?” Yes. That is what they mean.
michael olson, strange flesh
“What follows is a scorching set piece, told in her dark molasses voice. It concerns her uncle’s farm outside of Yekaterinburg, two albino lambs she saved from Easter dinner, a pail of spilled milk, and a subsequent vigorous spanking. During this I see Garriott miming a broad thumbs-up at Xan. I close my eyes to blot out his antics and focus on the alluring images flitting around my head. Her...
brian mcgreevy, hemlock grove
“Pryce and Godfrey stood before a long serpent after the Chinese tradition. Its scales were flaming red and orange and it had white eyebrows and a long mustache. On its torso was a Steelers jersey and it grasped in its talons chopsticks that in turn held the tip of its own tail. Its jaws were wide [for] the first bite and one eye was closed in a wink. The mural covered the double doors of the...
“Edgar learned to scuba dive; he got bored with it. He learned to ski; he got bored with it. He got bored with Angela and Jamesie, he got bored with New York. He got bored with being a lawyer, and with half a chance he could get good and bored with journalism, too. Captivation was slavery. Boredom macht frei.” And, so, here: this comes in the second of two long passages, multipage...
The trouble was that savvy coated your brain in plastic like a driver’s...– Lionel Shriver, The New Republic | Harper 03.27.12
lionel shriver, the new republic
“Angela would have found this place a hoot. She’d have extended naked on the cold marble parquet by the fountain, her keen ribs flickering in the flames of sconces, and Edgar might have figured out what that room and all its pillows were good for. As it was, the villa’s opulence mocked the paltriness of his imagination. Let loose in a palace, Edgar Kellogg dusted furniture and...
“But it’s a completely closed system — there’s no ‘world’ actually extrinsic to it. What makes Ike so magnificent is that he’s pared down his deck to a single card, The Hero — a man standing on his stoop, on the prow of his hermitage, striking that ‘contrapposto pose, in his white wifebeater, his torso totally ripped, his lustrous chestnut armpit hair wafting in the breeze, his head...