Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tuesday Teasers on Saturday...

What can I tell you? I've been running late for everything this week. To make up for my tardiness, I will gift (ha!) you with quotes from two books. Better yet, both of the quotes will be whole damn paragraphs--just 'cause they're so damn well written. So there.....Better late than never

Teaser Tuesdays, hosted at Should Be Reading, asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.
  • The first promised paragraph is from a book of short stories, Sunstroke and Other Stories, by British author Tessa Hadley. She has a devastating way with words and with tone...

    "Neither is exactly unhappy, but what has built up in them instead is a sense of surplus, of life unlived. Somewhere else, while they are absorbed in pushchairs and fish fingers and wiping bottoms, there must be another world of intense experiences for grown-ups. They feel as if, through their perpetual preoccupation with infantile things, they, too, have become infants; as if their adult selves were ripening and sweetening all in vain, wasted. You can see this sensual surplus in them. It glistens on their skin and in their eyes like cream rising to the top of the milk (though neither of them is fat: Rachel is tall and muscular, Janie slight and boyish, only her breasts rounded because she's breast-feeding). They half know this about themselves, how visibly they exude their sexual readiness. They know that they make a picture, spread out there under the trees in their summer dresses, with their brood gamobling around them." Page 5 (from the title story "Sunstroke").

    The second is from a book called, inaptly enough, The Little Book, by Selden Edwards. Why inapt? The book is not little and it took 30 years for the author to write it. Little indeed. It is about a 47-year-old man in 1988 who is plunged back into turn of the century Vienna by an event he cannot immediately remember. Thus far (I'm only about 60 pages into it), the book is mesmerizing.

    "Wheeler's mind raced, and then as if his grandmother's frail hand reached back to him one more time, he remembered her last words at the conclusion of the waltz a few days before, as they sat on the couch. 'You need to know-' she had said, catching her breath in short little gasps, then recapturing her composure. 'My life was very different from others. But-' She paused and looked down, as if distracted by a thought too complicated for words. 'Because of what I knew.' Then she looked up squarely into his eyes, as if trying to penetrate across time to the deepest recesses of collective history. 'You must know-' He remembered something in those strong eyes of hers. What she might have called ardor. She took his hands in hers and held them tightly. 'You must know this and remember this.' Wheeler felt something indescribable in her eyes and held them with his. 'That I was happy.'" page 109.


    Florinda said...

    You read the most eclectic books! I'm glad you participate in Tuesday Teasers - you nearly always introduce me to something totally new. (And I post mine on Fridays...calendars are for sissies :-).)

    Karen said...

    Calendars--definitely for weenies.

    thanks for your supportive comments, as always...I still haven't had a chance to read anyone else's teasers, but i will! (As well as your blog entries--I swear.......!!!) xo karen

    ChefDruck said...

    Your collection of short stories sounds wonderful. That was a beautiful paragraph. I love the notion of a sense of surplus.