Monday, March 3

beginnings

I picked up Jonathan Lethem's "The Fortress of Solitude" a couple days ago, and started turning the pages. I was hooked at the opening paragraph, because of writing like this, with imagery so strong that I wish I knew how to adapt it and make a supershort film.


"Like a match struck in a darkened room:

Two white girls in flannel nightgowns and red vinyl roller skates with white laces, tracing tentative circles on a cracked blue slate sidewalk at seven o'clock on an evening in July.

The girls murmured rhymes, were murmured rhymes, their gauzy, sky-pink hair streaming like it had never once been cut. The girls' parents had permitted them back onto the street after dinner, only first changing into the gowns and brushing their teeth for bed, to bask in the orange-pink summer dusk, the air and light which hung over the street, over all of Gowanus like the palm of a hand or the inner surface of a seashell."

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11 comments:

ready.2.spark said...

What? No word of a lie...I had 2 people telling me on Saturday that this is their all time fav book! I was at Chapters just yesterday trying to remember the name. thank you!!

Kirsten said...

I love that book. With Lethem's great story and such care in words, I felt a push-pull the whole time I spent reading it (want to find out what happens next! want to read this so slowly that I don't miss any perfect phrases!. Enjoy!

JanelleGrace said...

I am going to have to pick this book up. I always have such a hard time finding new books.

Joslyn said...

beautiful for a monday morning...especially this:

"Two white girls in flannel nightgowns and red vinyl roller skates with white laces, tracing tentative circles on a cracked blue slate sidewalk at seven o'clock on an evening in July."

sigh...

Suzanna Mars said...

I have a slight hypothesis that our choices in fiction reflect in how we express ourselves to the world. Therefore, your blog, with its gentle nature, is congruent with the passage you posted.

I, on the other hand, am a fan of Carver and Cheever.

Emilia said...

I love everything you post! That's why you (and Miss Alyson) are my favorite of the favs this week! www.theauburnandivory.blogspot.com

One Love Photo said...

Thanks so much for the tip on a fab new book! I will be heading to the bookstore this evening for a treat! The writing reminded me of Kate Braverman in The Incantation of Frida K. I think you would enjoy this excerpt...


In this net it's not just the strings that count
But also the air that escapes through the meshes.
-Pablo Neruda

"I was born in rain and I will die in rain. Know me as river, as harbor. They will say I was a slut with a brazen sailor?s mouth. They will not remember my elegance and restraint. They will say they looked in my eyes and counted one hundred forty-six pelicans flying in a wavering line into a marina at sunset."

Go read more at:
http://tinyurl.com/2b9pae

Sara Christine said...

If you like Jonathan Lethem, you should read "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz. One of my favorites of all time!

brandon & brittany said...

ali, i love each and every one of your posts. i feel like i get to know you a little better each time!

lane said...

Hey! Is this by any chance my copy of Fortress of Solitude? I left it in your car over the holiday break...

I love Lethem's short stories but sometimes have a hard time getting into his books. Interested to see what you think by the end.

ali said...

I think there is a very good chance this is your copy, since Lethem scrawled "To Lane" on the coverpage. :)

p.s. You didn't leave it in my car. You left it in dad's. Then I picked it up....