A selection from Then We Came to the End

This is probably not the right place to be, probably the wrong place, actually. Matter of fact, if the wrong place could be identified on a map – “You Are Here” – this would probably be it. And this thing she might do, enter the building and have the night guard call up and inform him who he had waiting for him in the lobby? Not the right thing to be doing. But she’s been driving around for half a tank of gas now and lo and behold she ends up here. The street where his firm’s office is located is one block east of Michigan Avenue. The Mag Mile is deserted like always this time of night. She’s parked illegally, but the only vehicle to drive past in twenty minutes is a cabbie with his light off. Going home, probably. That’s the wise choice, cabbie – big day tomorrow, take yourself home and rest your weary bones. Why can’t she have a cabbie’s good sense? Lynn Mason in her Saab outside Martin Grant’s office building doesn’t feel forty-three so much as fourteen, unhinged by strong affections. “Wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait wait!” she says out loud, pounding the steering wheel and grabbing onto it, shaking it. She can’t actually be where she is! How did the night, starting at the top of the mountain with Chinese and TV, run like a landslide of shit down to this low ravine here? Does she really want to go up there and just be in an office? There is no mystery, no attraction, no reward, no surprise in the empty corridors of an office at ten at night – she knows from firsthand experience. Spending her last night in an office, that’s inane. But the thing is, in that office up there? There is Martin. There is Martin. And the universal truth is, it matters not where he is, if he is drowning in the ocean or burning in a fire – that’s where his lover wants to be. So it doesn’t matter if he’s an unshowered, crabby, gaseous, overworked, eye-twitching, mind-dulled man under the purgatorial light, walking the barren halls with their unringing phones and bad art. She wants to be up there. How could she help but find herself parked here, regardless of what she told herself earlier in the evening – that there would be no Martin tonight, no talking to Martin? A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, and at this hour, she has thrown all consistency to the wind.
A selection from Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris.


Stories Will Never Die

From The Telegraph:

Changing technologies have affected the means by which stories are told. You can follow the story of a person's life pointillistically through a Twitter feed or voyeuristically through a webcam.

You can read a self-contained novel; one with an alternate ending; or a choose-your-own adventure book.

You can steer petty criminal Niko Bellic through the nodes of GTA4's restricted but ingenious video game structure; or follow the endlessly overlapping plot arcs of an open-structure narrative like a soap opera.

But when you strip off all the bells and whistles, these stories will be in all the important essences no different from the stories that Vladimir Propp, or the authors of the Bible, or Homer and her many co-authors, would have recognised. "Next generation synthetic performer technologies" or not.

Read the whole article here.


A Selection from Tender is the Night

“God, am I like the rest after all?”—So he used to think starting awake at night—“Am I like the rest?”

This was poor material for a socialist but good material for those who do much of the world’s rarest work. The truth was that for some months he had been going through that partitioning of the things of youth wherein it is decided whether or not to die for what one no longer believes. In the dead white hours in Zurich staring into a stranger’s pantry across the upshine of a street- lamp, he used to think that he wanted to be good, he wanted to be kind, he wanted to be brave and wise, but it was all pretty difficult. He wanted to be loved, too, if he could fit it in.
A selection from Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.