January 18, 2006

Everything is Illuminated.

From Jonathan Safran Foer's "Everything is Illuminated":

"Let me wear it in a locket over my heart," the proud father continued, pacing the room with his empty crystal goblet held in front of him, "and keep it forever, because I have never been so happy in my life, and will be perfectly content if I never experience half of this happiness again -- until the wedding of my other daughter, of course. Indeed," he said, hemming the laughter, "if there are to be no other moments for the rest of time, I would never once complain. Let this be the moment that never ends."

My grandfather squeezed the Gypsy girl's fingers [not his wife, for the record], as if to say, "It's not too late. There is still time. We could run, leave everything behind, never look back, save ourselves."

She squeezed his fingers, as if to say, "You are not forgiven."

Menachem continued, trying to hold back tears, "Please raise your empty glasses with me. To my daughter and new son, to the children they'll produce, and the children of those, to life!"

But before the father of the bride had taken his seat, before the glases had a chance to clink their reflected smiles against one another in hope, the house waws again swept with a haunting guest. The place cards were thrown into the air, and the centerpieces were again knocked over, this time spreading dirt over the white tablecloth and onto almost every lap.

The Gypsy women rushed to clean up the mess, and my grandfather whispered into Zosha's ear, which for him was the Gypsy girl's ear: "It will be OK."

The Gypsy girl, the REAL Gypsy girl, did slip my grandfather a note, although it fell out of his hand in the commotion, was kicked across the floor, by the nameless fishmonger -- to the far end of the table, where it came to rest under an overturned wine glass, which kept it safe until that night, when a Gypsy woman picked up the glass and swept the note (along with fallen food, dirt and piles of dust) into a large paper bag. This bag was put out in front of the house by a different Gypsy woman. The next morning, the paper bag was collected by the obsessive-compulsive garbage man Feigel B. The bag was then taken to a field on the other side of the river, and burned with dozens of other bags, reached into the sky, red and yellow fingers. The smoke spread like a canopy over the neighboring fields, making many a Wisps of Ardisht cough, because every kind of smoke is different and must be made familiar. Some of the ash that remained was incorporated into the soil. The rest was washed away by the next rain and swept into the Brod.

This is what the note said: Change.



David said...

ha, you said fishmonger. I am going to have to read this a few more times before I can comment further. But weren't you supposed to goto bed?

Trebuchet said...

One of the greatest titles of all time. Fishmonger. Someday I will accept a job as one, just so that I can say that once, I was a Fishmonger.

This book was CRAZY. This excerpt is from the end, but doesn't give anything away... I just found it poignant. Sorry to be boring.

Your regularly scheduled funny resumes tomorrow.

Anonymous said...