Rock Springs by Richard Ford

★★★★★ (5/5)

A collection of brilliantly carved short stories, reminiscent of the brilliance of Raymond Carver. Astute, poetical and realistic, a thread weaves through the ten different stories, unifying them with the grand luster of trivialities of everyday life. Highly recommended!

Rock Springs

  • I don’t know what was between Edna and me, just beached by the same tides when you got down to it
  • And she seemed gloomy all of a sudden, as if she saw some aspect of the story she had never seen before
  • The trailer had that feeling that no one else was inside, which was a feeling I knew something about.
  • The truth is meant to serve you if you’ll let it, and I wanted it to serve me
  • Here I am out here in the desert where I don’t know anything, in a stolen car, in a motel room under an assumed name, with no money of my own, a kid that’s not mine, and the law after me. And I have a choice to get out of all of it by getting on a bus. What would you do? I know
  • Through luck or design they had all faced fewer troubles,, and by their own characters, they forgot them faster. And that’s what I wanted for me. Fewer troubles, fewer memories of trouble

Great Falls

  • He looked up at me and smiled the way he had inside the house, a smile that said he knew something he wouldn’t tell, a smile to make you feel bad because you weren’t Woody and never could be.
  • “Sometimes I even have a moment when I completely forget what life’s like. Just altogether.”
  • Though possibly it—the answer—is simple: it is just low-life, some coldness in us all, some helplessness that causes us to misunderstand life when it is pure and plain, makes our existence seem like a border between two nothings, and makes us no more or less than animals who meet on the road—watchful, unforgiving, without patience or desire.

Sweethearts

  • “We don’t know where any of this is going, do we?” she said, and she squeezed my hand tight. “No,” I said. And I knew that was not a bad thing at all, not for anyone, in any life.
  • Arlene looked out the side window at the river. There were still traces of fog that had not burned off in the sun. Maybe it was nine o’clock in the morning. You could hear the interstate back behind us, trucks going east at high speed
  • Somehow, and for no apparent reason, your decisions got tipped over and you lost your hold. And one day you woke up and you found yourself in the very situation you said you would never ever be in, and you did not know what was most important to you anymore. And after that, it was all over. And I did not want that to happen to me—did not, in fact, think it ever would. I knew what love was about. It was about not giving trouble or inviting it. It was about not leaving a woman for the thought of another one. It was about never being in that place you said you’d never be in. And it was not about being alone. Never that. Never that.

Children

  • “Do you ever have the dream that somebody you know is leading you into a river and just when you’re knee-deep, you step in a hole and you fall under. Then you jump in your sleep, it scares you so much?”
  • and this was how you knew what a fool was—someone who didn’t know what mattered to him in the long run

Empire

  • They had a loud laugh, or a moustache or enlarged pores, or some mannishness that went back to a farm experience with roughneck brothers and a cruel, strict father—something to run away from. Bad luck, really. Something somebody with a clearer oudook might just get over and turn into a strong point. Maybe he could find out what it was in Doris and treat her like a normal person, and that would make a difference
  • And in the silence that followed his own name, the feeling of a vast outside world opened up in him, and scared him so that he stood up beside the wall phone and stared at his own phone number
  • Children made life a misery and, once they’d finished, they did it again. That had been the first thing he and Marge had seen eye to eye on
  • But you can do a thing and have it mean nothing but what you feel that minute
  • Where’s the real life, right? I don’t think I’ve had mine, yet, have you?
  • He held her to him, her face against his as his heart beat. And he felt dizzy, and at that moment insufficient, but without a memory of life’s having changed in that particular way.

Winterkill

  • Trouble comes cheap and leaves expensive
  • I thought that though my life at that moment seemed to have taken a bad turn and paused, it still meant something to me as a life, and that before long it would start again in some promising way

Optimists

  • I saw him as a man who made mistakes, as a man who could hurt people, ruin lives, risk their happiness. A man who did not understand enough

Fireworks

  • “Bygones are bygones to me,” Starling said. “I don’t think about it” “You’re such a literal, Eddie. You get lost in the lonely crowd, I think sometimes. That’s why I want to be nice and make you happy.” She held him close to
  • Then Lois closed the door and danced out before the car into the rain with the sparklers, waving her arms round in the air, smiling widely and making swirls and patterns and star-falls for him that were brilliant and illuminated the night and the bright rain and the little dark house behind her and, for a moment, caught the world and stopped it, as though something sudden and perfect had come to earth in a furious glowing for him and for him alone—Eddie Starling—and only he could watch and listen. And only he would be there, waiting, when the light was finally gone.

 

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

★★★★★ (5/5)

A selection of my favorite passages from the book

  • but then again, sportsmen and soldiers of all nationalities tend to look alike
  • Except, of course, that we are part of a broader malaise afflicting not only the formerly rich but much of the formerly middle-class as well: a growing inability to purchase what we previously could.
  • But fortunately, where I saw shame, he saw opportunity
  • Yet one got the sense that she existed internally at a degree of remove from those around her
  • It is the effect of scarcity; one’s rules of propriety make one thirst for the improper
  • was a testament to the systematic pragmatism—call it professionalism—that underpins your country’s success in so many fields. At Princeton, learning was imbued with an aura of creativity; at Underwood Samson, creativity was not excised—it was still present and valued—but it ceded its primacy to efficiency. Maximum return was the maxim to which we returned, time and again
  • it is far better to donate to charities that address the causes of poverty rather than to him, a creature who is merely its symptom. What am I doing?
  • At these moments she frequently became introspective; it was as though their presence allowed her to withdraw, to recede a half-step inside herself
  • felt like a distance runner who thinks he is not doing too badly until he glances over his shoulder and sees that the fellow who is lapping him is not the leader of the pack, but one of the laggards.
  • Reject it and you slight the confessor; accept it and you admit your own guilt
  • Perhaps it is in our nature to recognize subconsciously the link between mortality and procreation—between, that is to say, the finite and the infinite—and we are in fact driven by reminders of the one to seek out the other
  • “They try to resist change. Power comes from becoming change.”
  • I did, however, tell myself that I had overreacted, that there was nothing I could do, and that all these world events were playing out on a stage of no relevance to my personal life. But I remained aware of the embers glowing within me, and that day I found it difficult to concentrate on the pursuit—at which I was normally so capable—of fundamentals
  • Here we are not squeamish when it comes to facing the consequences of our desire
  • Lahore was the last major city in a contiguous swath of Muslim lands stretching west as far as Morocco and had therefore that quality of understated bravado characteristic of frontier towns
  • there was no physical reason for her malaise beyond, perhaps, a biochemical disposition towards mental disorders of this kind. No, hers was an illness of the spirit, and I had been raised in an environment too thoroughly permeated with a tradition of shared rituals of mysticism to accept that conditions of the spirit could not be influenced by the care, affection, and desire of others
  • saw that in this constant striving to realize a financial future, no thought was given to the critical personal and political issues that affect one’s emotional present.
  • There really could be no doubt: I was a modern-day janissary, a servant of the American empire at a time when it was invading a country with a kinship to mine and was perhaps even colluding to ensure that my own country faced the threat of war. Of course I was struggling! Of course I felt torn! I had
  • I myself was a form of indentured servant whose right to remain was dependent upon the continued benevolence of my employer
  • As a society, you were unwilling to reflect upon the shared pain that united you with those who attacked you. You retreated into myths of your own difference, assumptions of your own superiority. And you acted out these beliefs on the stage of the world, so that the entire planet was rocked by the repercussions of your tantrums
  • Such journeys have convinced me that it is not always possible to restore one’s boundaries after they have been blurred and made permeable by a relationship: try as we might, we cannot reconstitute ourselves as the autonomous beings we previously imagined ourselves to be
  • I must meet my fate when it confronts me, and in the meantime I must conduct myself without panic.

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

​★★★★★ (5/5)

​This was a gripping, visceral, enigmatic, poignant read! A beautifully crafted novel that explores love brazenly.

Opening lines hold the power to be most forceful and potent. They can either whirl you in, enthuse you with their boldness or leave you be, dispirited and uninterested. The following line opened the book, enthralling me, leaving me utterly spellbound.

“Later!” The word, the voice, the attitude. I’d never heard anyone use “later” to say goodbye before. It sounded harsh, curt, and dismissive, spoken with the veiled indifference of people who may not care to see or hear from you again. It is the first thing I remember about him, and I can hear it still today. Later!

The book was an aesthetic and sensual treat. Highly recommended!

Here’s a selection of my favourite passages from the book, divided chapter wise.

If Not Later, When?

  • Did his heart jolt when he saw me walk into a room? I doubted it.
  • His one-word send-off: brisk, bold, and blunted—take your pick, he couldn’t be bothered which.
  • You could never stare long enough but needed to keep staring to find out why you couldn’t.
  • But there was something at once chilling and off-putting in the sudden distance that crept between us in the most unexpected moments. It was almost as though he were doing it on purpose; feeding me slack, and more slack, and then yanking away any semblance of fellowship
  • Not a fire of passion, not a ravaging fire, but something paralyzing, like the fire of cluster bombs that suck up the oxygen around them and leave you panting because you’ve been kicked in the gut and a vacuum has ripped up every living lung tissue and dried your mouth, and you hope nobody speaks, because you can’t talk, and you pray no one asks you to move, because your heart is clogged and beats so fast it would sooner spit out shards of glass than let anything else flow through its narrowed chambers
  • Is this why people say “maybe” when they mean “yes,” but hope you’ll think it’s “no” when all they really mean is, Please, just ask me once more, and once more after that?
  • Only once during his very first few days did I get a sense that this willful but accommodating, laid-back, water-over-my-back, unflappable, unfazed twenty-four-year-old who was so heedlessly okay with so many things in life was, in fact, a thoroughly alert, cold, sagacious judge of character and situations
  • “If you look at him when you’re speaking, he always looks away, he’s not listening, he’s just itching to say things he’s rehearsed while you were speaking and wants to say before he forgets them.”
  • How I loved the way he repeated what I myself had just repeated. It made me think of a caress, or of a gesture, which happens to be totally accidental the first time but becomes intentional the second time and more so yet the third
  • Later! always left a sharp aftertaste to what until then may have been a warm, heart-to-heart moment. Later! didn’t close things neatly or allow them to trail off. It slammed them shut.
  • Seeing him and thinking he’d join us for dinner tonight only to hear his peremptory Esco taught me there are certain wishes that must be clipped like wings off a thriving butterfly.
  • What I didn’t realize was that wanting to test desire is nothing more than a ruse to get what we want without admitting that we want it
  • the pawn that has become so vital to king and queen that it is now master of the board.
  • get to know people, find out for myself why others are so necessary in life and not just foreign bodies to be sidled up to
  • The fear never went away. I woke up to it, watched it turn to joy when I heard him shower in the morning and knew he’d be downstairs with us for breakfast, only to watch it curdle when, rather than have coffee, he would dash through the house and right away set to work in the garden
  • It made me hate myself for feeling so hapless, so thoroughly invisible, so smitten, so callow. Just say something, just touch me, Oliver. Look at me long enough and watch the tears well in my eyes. Knock at my door at night and see if I haven’t already left it ajar for you. Walk inside. There’s always room in my bed.
  • Perhaps we were friends first and lovers second. But then perhaps this is what lovers are
  • I was treading water, trying neither to drown nor to swim to safety, just staying in place, because here was the truth—even if I couldn’t speak the truth, or even hint at it, yet I could swear it lay around us, the way we say of a necklace we’ve just lost while swimming: I know it’s down there somewhere. If he knew, if he only knew that I was giving him every chance to put two and two together and come up with a number bigger than infinity.

Monet’s Berm

  • “I’m not wise at all. I told you, I know nothing. I know books, and I know how to string words together—it doesn’t mean I know how to speak about the things that matter most to me.”
  • The light of my eyes, I said, light of my eyes, light of the world, that’s what you are, light of my life. I didn’t know what light of my eyes meant, and part of me wondered where on earth had I fished out such claptrap, but it was nonsense like this that brought tears now
  • stop going to the back garden, stop spying, stop heading to town at night, wean myself a bit at a time each day, like an addict, one day, one hour, one minute, one slop-infested second after the other. It could be done. I knew there was no future in this
  • as though it had happened to another me in some other life that was not too different from my own, but removed enough to make the few seconds that kept us apart seem like light-years away
  • this avoidance, which gave every indication of drawing us apart, was, instead, a perfectly synchronized moment of intimacy which neither of us wished to dispel
  • By shouting his words I was fleshing them out and giving them longer life, as though they had a life of their own now, a longer and louder life that no one could govern, like the life of echoes once they’ve bounced off the cliffs
  • People who read are hiders. They hide who they are. People who hide don’t always like who they are
  • Part of me still enjoyed luxuriating in this newfound, beneficent wave of indifference, verging on distaste, for Oliver that both pleased me and told me how fickle I ultimately was
  • Turn back. Who knows what you’ll find once you’re in that room. Not the tonic of discovery but the pall of despair when disenchantment has all but shamed every ill-stretched nerve in your body
  • From this moment on, I thought, from this moment on—I had, as I’d never before in my life, the distinct feeling of arriving somewhere very dear, of wanting this forever, of being me, me, me, me, and no one else, just me, of finding in each shiver that ran down my arms something totally alien and yet by no means unfamiliar, as if all this had been part of me all of my life and I’d misplaced it and he had helped me find
  • because what awaited was not going to be much better, though I knew I couldn’t go on hanging on to that giant, amorphous blob of a nightmare that felt like the biggest cloud of self-loathing and remorse that had ever wafted into my life. I would never be the same. How had I let him do these things to me, and how eagerly had I participated in them, and spurred them on, and then waited for him, begging him
  • Something bordering on nausea, something like remorse—was that it, then?—began to grip me and seemed to define itself ever more clearly the more I became aware of incipient daylight through our windows.
  • I, Judas-like, kept saying to myself, If only he knew. If only he knew I want to be leagues and a lifetime away from him. I hugged him
  • Would I always experience such solitary guilt in the wake of our intoxicating moments together?

The San Clemente Syndrome

  • With dusk scarcely an hour away, the street-lights glistened through dense halos, while the lighted storefronts seemed doused in gleaming colors of their own invention
  • But I also loved the languor that sat upon the city, like a lover’s tired, unsteady arm resting on your shoulders.
  • Could intimacy endure once indecency was spent and our bodies had run out of tricks?
  • There was more to learn in this tiny crammed bookstore than in any of the mighty institutions across the Atlantic.
  • “I wish I had one friend I wasn’t destined to lose.”
  • how we move through time, how time moves through us, how we change and keep changing and come back to the same

Ghost Spots

  • Anticipating sorrow to neutralize sorrow—that’s paltry, cowardly stuff, I told myself, knowing I was an ace practitioner of the craft
  • In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!
  • so that Oliver, who for so long had loomed like a fulcrum on the scale of life, eventually acquired successors who either eclipsed him or reduced him to an early milepost, a minor fork in the road
  • The very possibility of meeting his family suddenly alarmed me—too real, too sudden, too in-my-face, not rehearsed enough. Over the years I’d lodged him in the permanent past, my pluperfect lover, put him on ice, stuffed him with memories and mothballs like a hunted ornament confabulating with the ghost of all my evenings. I’d dust him off from time to time and then put him back on the mantelpiece. He no longer belonged to earth or to life
  • “It used to be mine, but you’ve owned it far, far longer than I have.” We belonged to each other, but had lived so far apart that we belonged to others now. Squatters, and only squatters, were the true claimants to our lives

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

★☆☆☆☆ (1/5)

Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live

​This book would have floored me a good ten to fifteen years back but now it just seems superfluous and didactic. It is stitched out of quotable quotes that one pins on a board during throes of teenage angst. The book itself is pseudo-philosophical and mawkish, despite the contents being narrated out of real life events.

What we take, we must replenish. It’s only fair.

The narrator seems too acquiescent to allow mere generalisations on life change his personal perspective. Sure, death of a loved one and especially conversations with someone on their deathbed can influence us greatly but this inspiration is greatly exaggerated in the book. Add to that the sanctimonious claims made by Professor Morrie, and the book becomes a nuisance to the aesthetic and philosophic senses of the reader. His self-righteousness negates all the hoity-toity facts of life one is supposed to accept at mere face value.

Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it

Another major irritant of the book was its undue emphasis on love. This is clearly a product of Western philosophy which has not only distorted the image of love but has also overstated its utility in one’s life. All this has come at the cost of undervaluing kindness, which in my opinion, is more indispensable to humanity. Love is a by-product of kindness and not the other way around. Kindness can be exercised without actually “loving” someone but love without benevolence of thought and emotion, consideration and compassion is vacuous.

“You know what really gives you satisfaction?” What? “Offering others what you have to give.” You sound like a Boy Scout. “I don’t mean money, Mitch. I mean your time. Your concern. Your storytelling. It’s not so hard.”

“Tuesday’s with Morrie” is a vapid read. No matter how much the author distances himself from the book being labelled as a self-help book, the mismatched sweeping statements which are supposed to give the reader astounding insight into life scream of insipidity.

Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

★★★★★ (5/5)

Down there on the tobacco road no one ever laughed.

This is an incredibly powerful and tragic tale depicting the Depression Era and its effects on a destitute family, the Lesters. Extreme indigence doesn’t even begin to describe the plight of this family that has gone year after year without adequate resources of survival. Each day, hunger gnaws at their insides, depleting them of any impetus that might result in motivation to leave their land, settle in the city and begin working in mills. They are constrained by the heinous cycle of poverty in which they live and eventually wither away.

When Jeeter got ready to go somewhere, he filled the lard pail to overflowing, jumped in, and drove until the water splashed out and the engine locked up with heat. He would get out then and look for a creek so he could fill the pail again. The whole car was like that. Chickens had roosted on it, when there were chickens at the Lesters’ to roost, and it was speckled like a guinea-hen.

Unhealthy adulation of land

 It’s in my blood—burning broom-sedge and plowing in the ground this time of year. I did it for near about fifty years, and my Pa and his Pa before him was the same kind of men. Us Lesters sure like to stir the earth and make plants grow in it. I can’t move off to the cotton mills like the rest of them do. The land has got a powerful hold on me

Jeeter Lester, a father of seventeen children, reveres the land his ancestors left him. But the soil which he worships so much, does not provide for him anymore. Year after year, crops have died out either owing to some natural calamity or a dearth of resources which are required to plough and harvest the crops.

Maybe I ain’t got much sense, but I know it ain’t intended for me to work in the mills. The land was where I was put at the start, and it’s where I’m going to be at the end

Time and time again, his ailing wife Ada and neighbouring farmers have counselled him to move to the city where working for mills would provide just enough subsistence for their survival. But Jeeter is stubborn in his resolve to never abandon his lands to work for the city folk.

They ain’t like me, because I think more of the land than I do about staying in a durn cotton mill. You can’t smell no sedge fire up there, and when it comes time to break the land for planting, you feel sick inside but you don’t know what’s ailing you

Can we fault Jeeter for his uncompromising attachment to a piece of barren land? The answer to this is subjective. Having spent his entire life on an acre of plot left by his father and grand-father, Jeeter knows nothing better than the sights and smells of the soil. Despite extreme privation, his wretched house and empty land provide a spiritual solace in the hopeless circumstances. His forefathers were never prosperous but they made do on the same land to which Jeeter has attributed some hopes now. But it must also be taken into account that no one in the past had to deal with such gruelling times as Jeeter does now. His own children had run away to far-off towns and now lived relatively comfortable lives.

There was an inherited love of the land in Jeeter that all his disastrous experiences with farming had failed to take away

Another reason for Jeeter’s persistence on staying back is fear of the city folk in which the affluent reign. He has been mistreated by those in whom he put blind trust in. His benefactor, who would often let him buy supplies on credit, abandoned him without provisions for the future. The loan company, whose assistance Jeeter seeks with the cotton crop, exploit his dependence on them, and in the end get away with more than three hundred dollars, leaving Jeeter with mere seven dollars for an entire year’s work.

He would rather die of starvation than leave the land. In seven years his views of the subject had not been altered; and if anything, he was more determined than ever to remain where he was at all cost.

For Jeeter, the rich not only accumulate money through draining resources of the poor and hoarding finances during difficult times by not coming to their aid, but also hound them in case any farmer decides to be self-dependent. In his mind, Jeeter equates the corruption of the rich with city life that he so despises.

Though it sometimes looks like a rich man will never help the poor; whereas the poor people will give away everything they has to help somebody who ain’t got nothing

Lassitude – a cause and effect of poverty

Jeeter made a false start somewhere nearly every day

Indolence is deeply ingrained in the Lesters. It can be both a reason for their impoverished circumstances and a consequence of it. Every day, Jeeter undertakes a vow to till the land, borrow a mule or sell slabs of wood in the city. But he always comes up with an excuse at the last minute to delay his plans. The Jeeters’ take “tomorrow” for granted. Similarly, for years Jeeter had been arranging to take his daughter Ellie May to the city for an operation for her harelip. But each time, he would come back home with a ruse to avoid taking her. Despite having some money to accomplish certain tasks, Jeeter’s lethargic approach to life betrays his own intentions of survival which often results in hunger and uncertainty about where the next meal would come from.

He could sit calmly and bear the feeling of hunger, but to be compelled to live and look each day at the unplowed fields was an agony he believed he could not stand many more days

But once again, it can be reasoned that the Lester’s know no better. In times of great hardship, they live and hope to survive for only the present day. Jeeter cannot link his daytime sloth with hunger pangs at night. For him, and for all the Lester’s, human condition is defined by distinct circumstances which have absolutely no connection to each other.

Here, blackjack wood has been employed as a perfect metaphor for Jeeter:

The blackjack never grew much taller than a man’s head; it was a stunted variety of oak that used its sap in toughening the fibres instead of growing new layers and expanding the old, as other trees did

A warped dependency on religion

He won’t let us stay here and starve. He’ll send us some snuff and rations pretty soon

The Lesters have a skewed view on religion, using God as a crutch, at times blaming Him for their penury and at other times appeasing Him with false promises and indulgences. For them, the entity of a Creator solely exists to serve them and not the other way around. They consider their destitution as a favour upon God and expect Him to make up to them for their difficult circumstances. Since fate spelled their misery for them, a higher being owes them opportunities of reprieve – which should largely come about in shape of financial assistance.

God made the land, but you don’t see Him building durn cotton mills. That’s how I know better than to go up there like the rest of them. I stay where God made a place for me

The Lesters sin without remorse and seek absolution without any misgivings. They are not hesitant for a moment to fall back on debauched morals once they are assured of God’s mercy. They bear absolutely no responsibility for their actions or think over the repercussions. Their hand-to-mouth existence can be partly held liable for discrepancies in their beliefs and practices.

This distorted view on religion can be further understood by an excellent instance, in which Sister Bessie, the local preacher, tells Jeeter of Dude’s sermon against wearing black shirts. She is not inclined to explain the motives or teachings behind this bizarre homily and Jeeter blindly accepts her reasonings.

Preachers has got to preach against something. It wouldn’t do them no good to preach for everything. They got to be against something every time

Concluding Thoughts

The story has a brilliant take on the dehumanizing forces of poverty, which can strip one of basic foresight and the ability to weigh one’s actions and its ramifications. The tragedy of the novel is beset in its repetitive but candid dialogues, using Southern dialect to convey the anguish of Depression Era. We are incensed by some of the choices the characters make, but also forgive them for their innocent unworldliness. Much of their limited thinking is rooted in romantic notions of religion and belonging, manipulating either to suit their purpose. Their misfortune is fated but its progression is a result of their choices.

The mills is sort of like automobiles—they’re all right to fool around in and have a good time in, but they don’t offer no love like the ground does. The ground sort of looks out after the people who keeps their feet on it. When people stand on planks in buildings all the time, and walk around on hard streets, the ground sort of loses interest in the human


Beautifully crafted sentences

  • An intelligent employment of his land, stocks, and implements would have enabled Jeeter, and scores of others who had become dependent upon Captain John, to raise crops for food, and crops to be sold at a profit. Co-operative and corporate farming would have saved them all
  • But the real reason was because everybody had always burned the woods and fields each spring, and they saw no cause for abandoning life-long habits
  • I’ll miss them long yellow curls hanging down her back, and that pretty face of hers, too. Aside from that, I don’t know of a prettier sight to see than to look in her pale blue eyes early in the morning before the sun got up so high it threw too much light in them. Early in the morning they was the prettiest things a man could ever want to look at. But they was pretty any time of the day, and sometimes I used to sit and shake all over, for wanting to squeeze her so hard
  • Seeing them long yellow curls hanging down her back used to make me cry sometimes. I’d look at her pretty hair and eyes so long that I thought I’d go crazy if I didn’t touch her and see deep down into her eyes. But she wouldn’t never let me come close to her, and that’s what made the tears fall out of my eyes, I reckon
  • Neither of them had thought of Mother Lester again until they saw her lying on the sand. She was procumbent, and her face was mashed on the ground, but she had moved several feet closer to the house.