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"...the tang and sorrow and joy of a people..."

From James T. Farrell's Young Lonigan (the first volume of the Studs Lonigan triology):

The July night leaked heat all over Fifty-eighth Steet, and the fitful death of the sun shed softening colors that spread gauze-like and glamorous over the street, stilling those harshnesses and commercial uglinesses that were emphasized by the brighter revelations of day. About the street there seemed to be a supervening beauty of reflected life. The dust, the scraps of paper, the piled-up store windows, the first electric lights sizzling into brightness. Sammie Schmaltz, the paper man, yelling his final box-score editions, a boy's broken hoop left forgotten against the elevated girder, the people hurrying out of the elevated station and others walking lazily about, all bespoke the life of the community, the tang and sorrow and joy of a people that lived, worked, suffered, procreated, aspired, filled out their little days, and died.

And the flower of this community, its young men, were grouped about the pool room, choking the few squares of sidewalk outside it.

The flower of the community...doing nothing more than loitering outside of a pool room. As Algren might have said, some flower.

June 12, 2014 in Books | Permalink