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We are working to restore service. I kept searching, desperate, sliding pencils and papers around, looking for more.

Pym A Novel

I slammed the drawer shut, and it was loud. And I liked that sound, a moment of violence, but this time coming from me. So then I started banging on the empty shelves with my fists, and they vibrated. You could hear the echo in the room, then bouncing off into the empty building beyond us until Garth closed the door. This act suddenly seemed like the only thing worth running away to Detroit for. He was big enough to fill up the door.

PYM by Mat Johnson | Kirkus Reviews

I remembered when this man was skinny, ran track. Ran it poorly, but still. It was depressing looking at every extra pound on him, each a reminder that we were both moving swiftly into decline with little else as accomplishment. Garth did it. An empty space, dorms and buildings deserted, solar streetlamps popping on and off for just me. No one just left interior lights on, the environmental footprint too massive, the cost too high, and with every attack the prices went even higher.

Philip Hensher toasts the novelist Barbara Pym

So he was in there. The outside door opened, and I knew he was in there. And then there was this overwhelming emotion. It was not rage or anger. It was something even more illicit, unwanted. It was hope. Here we were, two men alone. Society vacated, and now just two men and a problem, one that somehow in my stupor seemed workable. There was a guy down the hall, a Romanticist, who had been denied tenure ten years ago. Approved by the faculty committee, just as I was, only to be shot down by the same president in the same manner.

Touchstones

And he had, in his grief, approached the all-powerful boss man, and he had repented all of his sins, real and imagined, and was granted a permanent teaching gig. I took a deep breath to prepare for a performance of dignified groveling. Then I heard the music coming from inside.

What I saw scared me.


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Took me out of my confidence, my momentum. What do you make of a Jew sitting in the dark listening to Wagner in this day and age? I could think of no more call to the end of the world than the one I was looking at. Random violence on the news had become background noise to me at that point, but this scene genuinely scared my ass.

Difficult Women

Still in his bow tie and tweed jacket at this time of night, it was disgusting. As the sound cleansed the room, the bald man just looked at me, drink in hand. As drunk as I was, I could still smell the sweet singe of alcohol hanging in the air. But even with the best efforts in humor, or scholarship, or activism, the specter of race will not be so easily exorcised. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

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