Friday, August 17, 2007

Archive of the Day

From Mohawk by Richard Russo:
The bacon begins to sizzle. Harry belches significantly and wipes his hands on the stomach of his apron. He feels the way he always does on Saturday morning after a hard night's drinking. He has come directly to the diner without any sleep, and the sweet smell of frying meat has his stomach churning. It's not his stomach he's worrying about, though. He has proposed marriage to some woman during the course of the evening. When drinking, Harry is indiscriminate about women, to whom he invariably proposes. The women Harry ends up with on Friday nights usually say yes, and then he has to renege. On the plus side, they know he hasn't any intention of marrying, so their feelings are never hurt. They say yes because it's a long shot and their lives are full of long shots. They know Harry doesn't need a wife and could do better if he were serious about taking one. There was a time when they could've done better than Harry, but that was several presidents ago. The calendar above the grill is for 1966, a year out of date. Whoever gave Harry the calendar the year before didn't give him a new one this year. The months are the same and Harry doesn't mind being a few days off.

3 Comments:

Anonymous JPW said...

I adore this passage. It sounds quite familiar, though I haven't read this particular Russo. I suspect, ASWOBA, that you have posted this before.... have you been blogging for so long now that you risk posting repeat material?!? ;-) No matter: this excerpt deserves the extra attention....

10:53 AM  
Blogger JMW said...

jpw, ASWOBA admits to having never read this book, either -- the only work of Russo's that I haven't devoured. This passage occurs early on (page 7), and since we share a father, I imagine this is why it sounds familiar to you -- he has read it aloud to me more than once, and probably has done the same for you. I posted it because I thought the end of it nicely echoed Taylor's sentiment below, about wanting the weeks to all feel the same.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Straight Man is true greatness. In a sea of self-satisfied navel-gazing anemic plotless new fiction squitter (sp?)it is a true funny serious book that is both mature and hilarious. This has to be one of the most difficult accomplishments of writing. He's so skillful and reads like he has nothing to prove. Also rare. I swear, The Alchemist would stand a vast improvement from a few well-placed duck jokes. Yarg. Tom Robbins couldn't write a decent duck character if you held a gun to his head, or threatened to let out the secret that he stinks. I swear just thinking about his books gives me dairrhea. Talking cans? Excuse me I need to go to the men's room. Quack.

9:27 AM  

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