A loose blueprint of a woman.
Why do we read fiction? To escape what we dislike about our lives? To defy what we deem culturally, spiritually, technically, physically, or morally unjust? To examine objects, people, and situations so closely that we are able not only to see the worlds they contain, but also to step inside them? The answer is, of course, all of the above.
My first thought when thinking about the research done for Babel was a kind of confusion, fitting, I think, for my thoughts about this book: that I’d done very little research, much less, I think, than I’d done for previous books…
Sanitize your hands, sanitize your daughter’s hands, sanitize the kitchen countertops, sanitize the kitchen table, sanitize your daughter’s Nalgene water bottle, sanitize her iPod touch, sanitize her pill box…
We are taught that the American Dream is attainable, that its pursuit is exciting and will inevitably bear fruit. But what of the American protagonist who suffers internally? Whose daily battles don’t take place in a courtroom or on Wall Street but in a humble department store?
Anything can be hidden. Fiction writers are spies, thieves, magicians, inventors, but they do not want to lie. People lie, but they reveal when they do. A group of elderly friends visited the same Dunkin Donuts each morning, and I listened and took note.
Who among us can honestly say that on occasion (or rather more often) we haven’t treated our parents like plete and utter shits?
Norman stood knee-deep in the Niagara River with his hand on the custom-made barrel as it bobbed in the shallow water, its anvil ballast resting against the rocky bottom. Toward the middle of the river, water crashed and slapped violently against jagged rocks.
Philippe Djian’s 2017 novel Marlene, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti, is a tragedy centered on three ex-army veterans in their late thirties who have returned from service together in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen and are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.
In his book Barley Patch, published in the U.S. by Dalkey Archive, the Australian writer Gerald Murnane gives a long and digressive summary of a novel that he abandoned when he decided to stop writing fiction.
The window open to catch the last of the lilac day, we consider the remains of the feast, me and Lisette and Geraldine.