Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Tastes of What I'm Reading

I had dogeared so many pages to mark a good paragraph that it was easy to find one hard to choose just one. From Philip Roth's The Plot Against America.

A multitude of helmets, uniforms, weapons, buildings, harbors, beaches, flora, fauna -- human faces of every race -- but otherwise the same inferno again and again, the unsurpassable evil from whose horrors the United States, of all the great nations, was alone in being spared, Picture after picture of misery without end; the mortars bursting, the infantrymen doubled over and running, marines with raised rifles wading ashore, airplanes dropping bombs, airplanes blown apart and spiraling to earth, the mass graves, the kneeling chaplains, the improvised crosses, the sinking ships, the drowning sailors, the sea in flames, the shattered bridges, the tank bombardment, the targeted hospitals sheared in two, pillars of fire coiling upward from bombed-out oil tanks, prisoners corralled in a sea of mud, stretchers bearing living torsos, bayoneted civilians, dead babies, beheaded bodies bubbling blood...

And then the White House. A twilit spring evening. Shadows falling from across the sprawl of lawn. Blooming bushes. Flowering trees. Limosines driven by liveried chauffeurs and everyone exiting them in formal attire. From the marble hallway beyond the open portico doors, a string ensemble playing last year's number one hit song, "Intermezzo," popularized from a theme in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Gracious smiles. Quiet laughter. The lean, beloved, handsome president. Beside him the talented poetess, daring aviatrix, and decorous socialite who is the mother of their mudered child. The loquacious, silver-haired honored guest. The elegant Nazi spouse in her long satin gown. Welcoming words, witticisms, and the Old World gallant, steeped in the theatrics of the royal court and looking in his evening clothes like a million bucks, charmingly kissing the First Lady's hand.

I'm enjoying this book a great deal.


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