woensdag 8 december 2010

Sombra Longa

Terwijl zo-even zeven kilo was langzaam proper werd, fietste ik verder door het begin van Freedom van Jonathan Franzen, al 48 pagina's lang een verademing na het moeizaam doorploegen van The Little Friend van Donna Tart. Volgende passages wil ik u niet onthouden:

Patty's mother was a professional Democrat. She is even now, at the time of this writing, a state assemblywoman, the Honorable Joyce Emerson, known for her advocacy of open space, poor children, and the Arts. Paradise for Joyce is an open space where poor children can go and do Arts at state expense.

Dat is humor.

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Like Ray himself, her granddad had bought the right to be privately eccentric by doing good public legal works: he'd made a name for himself defending high-profile conscientious objectors and draft evaders in three wars. In his spare time, which he had much of, he grew grapes on his property and fermented them in one of his outbuildings. His 'winery' was called Doe Haunch and was a major family joke. At the holiday picnics, August tottered around in flipflops and saggy swim trunks, clutching one of his crudely labeled bottles, refilling the glassed that his guests had discreetly emptied into grass or bushes. "What do you think?" he asked. "Is it good wine? Do you like it?" He was sort of like an eager boy hobbyist and sort of like a torturer intent on punishing every victim equally. 
Citing European custom, August believed in giving young children wine, and when the young mothers were distracted with corn to shuck or competitive salads to adorn, he waterd his Doe Haunch Reserve and pressed it on kids as young as three, gently holding their chins, if necessary, and pouring the mixture into their mouths, making sure it went down. "You know what that is?" he said. "That's wine." If a child then began to act strangely, he said: "What you're feeling is called being drunk. You drank too much. You're drunk." This with a disgust no less sincere for being friendly. Patty, always the olders of the kids, observed these scenes with silent horror, leaving it to a younger sibling to sound the alarm: "granddaddy's getting the little kids drunk!" 

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