“You long to explode and hurt everything white; friendly; unfriendly. But you know that you cannot live with a chip on your shoulder even if you can manage a smile around your eyes–without getting steely and brittle and losing the softness that makes you a woman.”
“So you too. Still; quiet; with a smile, ever so slight, at the eyes so that Life will flow into and not by you. And you can gather, as it passes, the essences, the overtones, the tints, the shadows; draw understanding to yourself.
And then you can, when Time is ripe, swoop to your feet–at your full height–at a single gesture.
Ready to go where?
Why…Wherever God motions.”
“In the presence of George Willard, Wing Biddlebaum, who for twenty years had been the town mystery, lost something of his timidity, and his shadowy personality, submerged in a sea of doubts, came forth to look at the world. With the young reporter at his side, he ventured into the light of day into Main Street or strode up and down on the rickety front porch of his own house, talking excitedly. The voice that had been low and trembling became shrill and loud. The bent figure straightened. With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by a fisherman, Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during long years of silence.”
…”‘You must try to forget all you have learned,’ said the old man. ‘You must begin to dream. From this time on you must shut your ears to the roaring of the voices.'”
a strong collection of short stories that deal with the immigrant’s experience. definitely recommended.
There are so many amazing lines/paragraphs in this book. He literally crafts each and every sentence into something beautiful. But, here are my favorites from my lasts night’s reading time.
PUT THIS BOOK ON YOUR WISH LISTS! It is simply divine.
“After all, what I love in a woman is not what she is in and for herself, but the side of herself she turns towards me, what she is for me. I love her as a character in our common love story. What would Hamlet be without the castle at Elsinore, without Ophelia, without all the concrete situations he goes through, what would be he without the text of his part? What would be left but an empty, dumb, illusory essence? Likewise, Lucie without Ostrava outskirts, without the roses handed through the barbed wire, without the shabby clothes, without my own endless weeks of despair, would probably cease to be the Lucie I’d loved.”
“And since Lucie had become for a me a definitive past (which still lives as past and is dead as present), she gradually lost in my mind her corporeal, material concreteness and became more and more a kind of legend, a myth inscribed on parchment and laid in a metal casket at the very foundation of my life.”
“Do stories, apart from happening, being, have something to say? For all my skepticism, some trace of irrational superstition did survive in me, the strange conviction, for example, that everything in life that happens to me also has a sense, that it means something, that life speaks to us about itself through its story, that it gradually reveals a secret, that it takes the form of a rebus whose message must be deciphered, that the stories we live comprise the mythology of our lives and in that mythology lies the key to truth and mystery. Is it an illusion? Possibly, even probably, but I can’t rid myself of the need continually to decipher my own life.”
i thought the pacing seemed a bit too fast towards the end, and i was more interested in her experience with her second husband, but overall, a good read.
“Billy licked his lips, ‘Why me?’
‘That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Beacuse this moment simply is. Have you seen bugs trapped in amber?’
‘Yes.’ Billy, in fact had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.
‘Well here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped inthe amber of this moment. There is no why.’ “