Uit: The Lovely Bones
„My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. My murderer believed in old-fashioned things like eggshells and coffee grounds, which he said his own mother had used. My father came home smiling, making jokes about how the man’s garden might be beautiful but it would stink to high heaven once a heat wave hit.
But on December 6, 1973, it was snowing, and I took a shortcut through the cornfield back from the junior high. It was dark out because the days were shorter in winter, and I remember how the broken cornstalks made my walk more difficult. The snow was falling lightly, like a flurry of small hands, and I was breathing through my nose until it was running so much that I had to open my mouth. Six feet from where Mr. Harvey stood, I stuck my tongue out to taste a snowflake.
“Don’t let me startle you,” Mr. Harvey said. Of course, in a cornfield, in the dark, I was startled. After I was dead I thought about how there had been the light scent of cologne in the air but that I had not been paying attention, or thought it was coming from one of the houses up ahead.
“Mr. Harvey,” I said. “You’re the older Salmon girl, right?” “Yes.” “How are your folks?”
Although the eldest in my family and good at acing a science quiz, I had never felt comfortable with adults.
“Fine,” I said. I was cold, but the natural authority of his age, and the added fact that he was a neighbor and had talked to my father about fertilizer, rooted me to the spot.
“I’ve built something back here,” he said. “Would you like to see?”
“I’m sort of cold, Mr. Harvey,” I said, “and my mom likes me home before dark.”
“It’s after dark, Susie,” he said.
I wish now that I had known this was weird. I had never told him my name. I guess I thought my father had told him one of the embarrassing anecdotes he saw merely as loving testaments to his children. My father was the kind of dad who kept a nude photo of you when you were three in the downstairs bathroom, the one that guests would use.“
Alice Sebold (Madison, 6 september 1962)
Uit: One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night
‘“An oil rig is a platform, Eddie. Oil rig, oil platform. Same thing.”
“Aye, but I mean, they’ve stripped it doon tae just the platform, then built everythin’ up again fae there. I read somethin’ aboot it in the paper.”
“But whit’s the point? Buildin’ a hotel or whatever on a big hunk o’ metal? Whit’s wrang wi’ dry land?”
“It’s so it’s exclusive, big man. So’s scrotes like you an’ maself cannae get near the fuckin’ thing. Like wan o’ thae wee islands, whit dae ye cry them? There’s hunners o’ them. The Endives.”
“Maldives, ya fuckin’ eejit. Endives are in salad.”
“So that would be thousands of islands then?”
“Aye, very fuckin’ funny, Eddie.”
“Anyway, in the Maldives, ye’ve tae get a boat oot tae your hotel, an’ your hotel is aw that’s on the island. You’re isolated, away fae it aw. So they’ve used this oil platform affair instead of an island. It’s like buildin’ an island.”
“Be fuckin’ freezin, but, will it no? The Cromarty Firth’s no exactly the South Pacific. Cannae see many folk lyin’ oot in their bikinis in May. Have tae wipe the snaw aff the sunloungers first.”
“Have you been listenin’ tae a word I’ve said? It’s no stayin’ in the Cromarty Firth. That’s just where they’ve been rebuildin’ it. Fittin’ it oot, an’ that. When that’s aw done, they’re towin’ the whole shebang aff tae somewhere it’s warm aw year roon. Coast of Africa, I think.”
“Oh, I get you noo. Wee bit hotter than Rosstown, then. Still, whit’s the point o’ gaun aw that way, tae Africa like, an’ then coupin’ yoursel’ up in this wan wee place the whole time? Seems a bit ay a waste, to me.”
“Well, Charlie, that’s how we’ve no’ made millions oot the tourist business and Gavin Hutchison has. I mean, personally, I think it’s the stupitest fuckin’ idea I’ve ever heard in my life, but that just proves I know fuck-all.”
“It doesnae take an oil-platform holiday-resort to prove you know fuck-all Eddie.”
“Aye, very good.”
“But I take your point. I wouldnae be seen deid in the place if it wasnae aw bein’ laid on.”
“You couldnae afford it if it wasnae aw bein’ laid on.”
“Good shout, aye. But you know what I mean, Eddie. It sounds hellish.”
Christopher Brookmyre (Glasgow, 6 september 1968)
Uit: The Keep
„Danny: I’m still trying to get this straight-is your hotel in Austria, Germany, or the Czech Republic?
Howie: Tell you the truth, I’m not even clear on that myself. Those borders are constantly sliding around.
Danny (thinking): They are?
Howie: But remember, it’s not a hotel yet. Right now it’s just an old-
The line went dead. When Danny tried calling back, he couldn’t get through.
But his tickets came the next week (blurry postmark)-plane, train, bus-and seeing how he was newly unemployed and had to get out of New York fast because of a misunderstanding at the restaurant where he’d worked, getting paid to go somewhere else-anywhere else, even the fucking moon-was not a thing Danny could say no to.
He was fifteen hours late.
He left his Samsonite and satellite dish by the gate and circled the left tower (Danny made a point of going left when he had the choice because most people went right). A wall curved away from the tower into the trees, and Danny followed that wall until woods closed in around him. He was moving blind. He heard flapping and scuttling, and as he walked the trees got closer and closer to the wall until finally he was squeezing in between them, afraid if he lost contact with the wall he’d get lost. And then a good thing happened: the trees pushed right through the wall and split it open and gave Danny a way to climb inside.
This wasn’t easy. The wall was twenty feet high, jagged and crumbly with tree trunks crushed into the middle, and Danny had a tricky knee from an injury connected to the misunderstanding at work. Plus his boots were not exactly made for climbing-they were city boots, hipster boots, somewhere between square-tipped and pointy-his lucky boots, or so Danny thought a long time ago, when he bought them. They needed resoling. The boots were skiddy even on flat city concrete, so the sight of Danny clawing and scrambling his way up twenty feet of broken wall was not a thing he would’ve wanted broadcast. But finally he made it, panting, sweating, dragging his sore leg, and hoisted himself onto a flat walkway-type thing that ran on top of the wall. He brushed off his pants and stood up.“
Jennifer Egan (Chicago, 6 september 1962)
Uit: Partir avant le jour
“Ma mère me fit apprendre par coeur le psaume XXII. Ces phrases si simples, ces phrases d’enfants se logèrent sans difficulté dans ma mémoire, et si mystérieux que fût leur sens, il ne me venait pas à l’esprit de rien mettre en question, ni l’huile répandue sur ma tête, ni le banquet préparé pour moi en face de mes adversaires. Je croyais ce que croyait ma mère et, autant que je m’en souvienne, elle ne m’expliquait rien, elle me faisait répéter chaque verset après elle, puis le psaume entier, et tout cela formait dans mon cerveau des images merveilleuses dont je puis dire que je m’enivrais. Je voyais le berger, je voyais la vallée de l’ombre de la mort, je voyais la table dressée. Il ne m’en fallait pas plus à cet âge. Quelque chose se passait en moi qui ne s’abolirait jamais. Quelque chose m’était donné, et je m’en aperçois aujourd’hui, je n’en sais pas beaucoup plus long qu’aux minutes où je dis pour la première fois ces paroles d’une familiarité si majestueuse. En les prononçant, même de ma voix encore hésitante, j’avais l’impression de suivre pas à pas quelqu’un et d’avancer avec lui vers un vaste palais tout baigné de lumière, d’où je ne sortirais jamais plus, mais il fallait d’abord traverser la région obscure et ne pas trembler. Que de fois, dans des heures d’angoisse, je me suis souvenu de la houlette réconfortante qui écarte de nous le danger ! Chaque jour, je récitais ce petit poème prophétique dont je n’épuiserai jamais les richesses….”
Julien Green (6 september 1900 – 13 augustus 1998)
Uit: De Dochter
“Ik mocht toen der tijd niet de allersubtielste of aardigste zijn van de jongens die ik indertijd tot mijn vrienden rekende, bot kon je me nu ook weer niet noemen. Ik kon die blik toen eenvoudigweg niet op de juiste manier duiden. Nieuwsgierig keek ze, verlegen en tegelijkertijd beschermend, alsof ze me kende, alsof ze iets in me opmerkte dat ik zelf was vergeten. Ik voelde me erdoor betrapt zonder dat ik iets had willen verbergen, en dat nam ik haar aanvankelijk kwalijk. Later begreep ik dat ik het misschien vooral mezelf kwalijk nam, en dat het een vorm van opzet is als je je laat betrappen, zelfs op je eigen gedachten. Ook voor de ergste gedachten ben je uiteindelijk zelf verantwoordelijk.”
Jessica Durlacher (Amsterdam, 6 september 1961)