Monday, July 24, 2006

No, I Take it Back, City. Ike is Sorry. Ike Didn't Mean it, City.


OK, I can't just complain about rent (see below). I have to balance the scales. I started reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell the other day -- this is going somewhere; take my hand -- and realized five pages into it that I don't have much confidence these days in my ability to finish a 500-plus-page novel that isn't required reading for my job. I know too many assignments will interrupt me along the way. Instead of bemoaning this fact -- or rather, in addition to bemoaning this fact -- I've decided to read short stories. They're perfect for subway rides, and I want to try my hand at writing them again in the coming months, so it seems a good idea. I'm hoping to get to Gogol soon, but I'm starting with Like Life, a collection by Lorrie Moore. And here, to counteract the real-estate taste in my mouth and to accompany the photo above, is an excerpt from the story "Vissi D'Arte."
There is a way of walking in New York, midevening, in the big, blocky East Fifties, that causes the heart to open up and the entire city to rush in and make a small town there. The city stops its painful tantalizing then, its elusiveness and tease suspended, it takes off its clothes and nestles wakefully, generously, next to you. It is there, it is yours, no longer outwitting you. And it is not scary at all, because you love it very much.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous lfw said...

That's a wonderful passage. I'm currently reading Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? on your recommendation. (Who am I kidding? Just about everything I've ever read has been on your recommendation.)

There's a great paragraph about the City in Winter's Tale. Well okay, the City is arguably the central player in that book, but somewhere in the 220s, there’s a more cynical take on walking through the teeming streets of midtown. I’ll find it at home tonight and share it tomorrow…

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I loved Cloud Atlas. I'm not too bright, though, so you know, grain of salt. Not as much as Ghostwritten and Number9Dream though (all books by David Mitchell).

Second, my reading has focused on short stories since law school. I think it's related to the fact that I could digest an entire story every night before bed. Much less temptation to stay up until the wee hours when I really, really want to know what happens next.

I'm sure you don't need advice, and I realize that it's very populist to do so, but I started reading the "Best Short Stories of [insert year]" and found them to be pretty good.

... I just realize what I wrote and said "Duh" to myself. Sorry about that.

-- Comish

10:43 PM  

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