‘Please state your name for the record.’
-Claire Kilroy, The Devil I Know: A Novel
In the wee hours of January 8, 1851, working in the cellar of his house on rue d’Assas, a short distance from the Luxembourg Gardens, a small and fragile-looking man named Leon Foucault gave the first direct proof that the Earth spins on its axis.
-Alan Lightman, “The Disembodied Universe,” in The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew
When the year turns, there are bells on the wind.
-Jayne Anne Phillips, Quiet Dell: A Novel
The annual meetings had become a kind of rowdy reunion, bearing, increasingly, the muffled bonhomie of a great funeral.
-Peter Mountford, The Dismal Science: A Novel
By 2010, between three and four hundred churches existed in Harlem, scores of them without a fixed place of worship, renting space from established churches, meeting in hotel rooms, or conducting services in private homes.
-Camilo Jose Vergara, Harlem: The Unmaking of a Ghetto
The first time Andy met Louisa, she was covered in blood.
-Lasuren Grodstein, The Explanation for Everything: A Novel
“The Last Days of California is a triumphant addition to the long tradition of coming-of-age stories, showing us that even those who seem to be nothing like us—be they ballerinas, superheroes, or teenage daughters of fundamentalist Christians—they really are more like us than we know. So there is a great pleasure in recognizing yourself in a book as beautifully written as this. [Mary] Miller’s novel shows us that the world ends and begins anew each day; every new morning is a rapture, a chance to be something different, the same as every new page.” Here.
Says Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah): “I’m interested in how being a woman walking down the street differs from being a man, how being black is different from being white. I guess I just watch carefully, and I listen, and I ask inappropriate questions.” Here.
“Staged during sales conventions to build morale, reinforce product messaging, and keep liquored-up Willy Loman types away from strip joints, corporations paid for elaborate musical productions written by genuine Broadway veterans and starring name actors like Hal Linden and Florence Henderson.” A review of Everything’s Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals by Steve Young and Sport Murphy. Here.
“[Elizabeth] Kolbert does not chide or condemn. She chronicles man’s indifference (and at times, cruelty) to other life on the planet, but the most disturbing aspect of The Sixth Extinction is that most of us are complicit in these die-offs by heedless living — driving cars, farming cleared land, buying goods that require overseas shipping. And failing to contain a burgeoning human population.” Here.
“Until quite recently, most of his colleagues didn’t even know what [Sergio] De La Pava was doing with his marble composition books, and most of his clients still don’t have any idea that the Times of London has called him ‘New York’s Dostoevsky.’ No one wants to think that the guy who represents your only hope for bail might be mentally crafting his latest novel.” Here.
On Thursday my wife returns from work and says she needs some color in the house, can’t live in this cell-hole another minute, what have we done to bring ourselves to this way of living at our age, we aren’t twenty-five-year-old twits, not anymore.
-Christopher Merkner, “In Lapland,” in The Rise & Fall of the Scandamerican Domestic
Bobby wanted to build a device that would end human civilization.
-Tamas Dobozy, “The Homemade Doomsday Machine,” in Siege 13: Stories