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"...slowly, steadily, approaching the inexorable end..."

Another great passage from Aleksandar Hemon's Love and Obstacles, this time from "Good Living", whose narrator holds a job selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door:
My best turf was Blue Island, way down Western Avenue, where addresses had five-digit numbers, as though the town was far back of the long line of people waiting to enter downtown paradise. I got along pretty well with the Blue Islanders. They could quickly recognize the indelible lousiness of my job; they offered me food and water; once I nearly got laid. They did not waste their time contemplating the purpose of human life; their years were spent as a tale is told: slowly, steadily, approaching the inexorable end. In the meantime, all they wanted was to live, wisely use what little love they had accrued, and endure life with the anesthetic help of television and magazines. I happened to be in their neighborhood to offer the magazines.
I occasionally take Metra's Rock Island line train (which runs right through Blue Island) into work. Blue Island is a gritty factory town which has certainly seen better days, yet somehow seems to still be clinging onto some degree of decent living. Though I've never set foot there, I can definitely see its citizens being exactly as Hemon describes - and I love that "five-digit numbers" metaphor.

December 4, 2009 in Books | Permalink

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