The chance quote
Bobfrom tagged me for the following book game:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.
The nearest book was a Hebrew cookbook: The Sephardic Kitchen, by Suzy David. On p. 123 there was a very short recipe for "Yakhni de frijole blanco", which all in all was rendered in 5 sentences. So that was out.
The second nearest book, which was strategically placed next to my photocopier, as a barrier to stop the printed pages coming out of the machine from falling on the floor, happened to be Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf which I re-read a couple of years ago at the urging of a former cyberfriend. We had a pact. I was to read her favourite book and she was to read my favourite love story (Jane Eyre). I kept my end of the bargain but I don't know about her, since our cyber friendship dissipated, the way all cyber friendships, and some real life friendships, do, the difference being not the "if" but the "how". Some end in a bang, some in a faltering murmur, some without even that, just a loss of interest and an ensuing silence... I've experienced them all.
Anyway, on to p. 123 and its sixth, seventh and eighth sentences:
"Well, bravo! You know the Fox trot now, thank the Lord. Tomorrow we'll get you on to the Boston, and in three weeks there's the Masked Ball at the Globe Rooms."
We had taken our seats for the interval when the charming young Herr Pablo, with a friendly nod, sat down beside Hermine."
This random passage is actually not a bad representation of the novella's DNA: the awkward middle aged man, tutored in the arts of dancing and love making by a young woman of "easy virtue", a misleading perception, and the "charming" Spaniard, just alien and oily enough to stir a slight sense of foreboding in the reader's minds. The whole thing is a rather dark journey into the nether regions of human weakness and depravity, a descent into Hades by a hero not too resisting. Not a cheery "weekendy" salutation, but then I'm not as considerate as Bobfrom!
The New Centrist,
But I am a liberal,
Boycotted British Academic.
But I am a liberal
The reluctant, but friendly, Centrist
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Friday, April 25, 2008
The chance quote