story: Now More Than Ever
author: Zadie Smith
where: Bologna, airport…delay delay delay
note: this story mentions poké bowls, which I belatedly realized this June is a now a big deal in NYC…elsewhere too? Also, I now know the plot of “A Place in the Sun”.
a line: “I said, In our philosophy department at the university, we feel that, just as there are degrees of sin or error, there are degrees of sympathy. It’s not a zero-sum game, or it used not to be, in the past. Well, there’s your problem, Scout said. You’re two-faced, you’re looking the wrong way, and if you don’t watch out you’re going to find yourself beyond the pale.”
story: Ghosts and Empties
author: Lauren Groff
where: Paris, 11th arrondissement
note: Wow, Groff has written a story about women walking, and joined the ranks of this great tradition of literature. Groff has some stories I really like–“At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”–and others I could leave; this is one to take, though all her work feels so autobiographical these days, which is harmless, perhaps.
a line: “It’s too much, it’s too much, I shout at my husband some nights when I come home, and he looks at me, afraid, this giant gentle man, and sits up in bed over his computer and says, softly, I don’t think you’ve walked it off yet, sweets, you may want to take one more loop.”
& an extra line:
“I smell the jasmine potent in my hair the next morning, the way I used to smell cigarette smoke and sweat after going to a night club, back when I was young and could do such unthinkable things.”
story: The First World
author: Joseph O’Neill
where: Paris Metro, line 2 then line 12
note: men and friendships is certainly a hot topic right now, particularly between cis men.
a line: “It is my habit to divide humanity along Orbisonian lines: the lonely and the not so lonely. Arty, I sense, falls on the wrong side of the division.”
story: The Sirens
author: Maria Dermoût
where: Above the Prada store, South Amsterdam
note: Wow, what an amazing protagonist and fairytale-like story. A dream.
a line: “The woman did not buy the proa because she loved the sea. She did not love the sea. She was afraid of the sea.”
story: Young Titans
note: reminds me of Kerouac
a line: “It was a strange time. And when I think about it, I realize that that time must still be happening now, it will last as long as there are young men of nineteen or twenty running around. It’s only for us that the time is long since past.”