I locked eyes with her once. I was on my way out of the Urban Outfitters on 14th and 6th, after one of those futile shopping trips that drive you nuts precisely because you can feel your payday riches burning a hole in your wallet, itching to be free.
We crossed paths. I stared. She stared. I opened my mouth. I closed my mouth. She smiled and said, “Hi.” I smiled back meekly, a weird croak bubbling passed my lips. Then I left.
So, yeah. Nice work, D.
I’ve reread On Beauty six times in the last six years. Because her voice is amazing. Because I’m always expecting to figure out exactly what it is about the book that makes me so gleeful. Because reading OB always ends with me carrying it around for a week after I’ve finished, waiting to corner friends long enough to force it on them.
Because of gems like these:
"In fact, when she was not in company it didn’t seem to her that she had a face at all…And yet in college, she was famed for being opinionated, a ‘personality’ — the truth was she didn’t take these public passions home, or even out of the room, in any serious way. She didn’t feel that she had any real opinions, or at least not in the way other people seemed to have them. Once the class was finished she saw at once how she might have argued the thing just as viciously and successfully the other way round; defended Flaubert over Foucault; rescued Austen from insult instead of Adorno. Was anyone ever genuinely attached to anything? She had no idea. It was either only Zora who experienced this odd impersonality or it was everybody, and they were all play-acting as she was.”
"People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two lovers, but this too was great; sitting between his sister and brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinions and foreign travel — before all of these things there had only been one person, Zora, and only one place: a tent in the living room made from chairs and bed-sheets. After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he had always been. Look at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away."
“‘Right, I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies — it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. The was no way to control it.”
I would go on, but it’s after 9 a.m., and food.