Romance (n): A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
Brockmeier (n): A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.
There’s a lot to love in this collection, as in all of Kevin Brockmeier’s work. But don’t take my word for it; take his.
People who read Tolstoy find it difficult to be alive because they are reasonable, while people who read Dostoyevsky find it difficult to be alive because they are not.
– The View from the Seventh Layer
“I’m having problems with the change machine.”
She gives the words an unusual emphasis, hovering over them with her voice like a flyswatter before falling dramatically on the final syllable. The change machine? Jacob pictures something straight out of a science fiction novel, an immense apparatus of hatches, levers, and conveyors belts that allows you to step in as one human being and step out as another, in which atheists change into Christians, stock car drivers change into politicians, great beauties change into wallflowers.
– The Lives of the Philosophers
It is one of the curiosities of life that putting on a smile can make you happy, just as putting on a scowl can make you angry and putting on tears can make you sad, and in much the same way, adopting the postures of modesty had made the people who would not look one another in the eye uncommonly reserved and timid. They found it difficult to begin romances and just as difficult to end them. Words such as love and need and miss came slowly to their lips, however quickly they came to their hearts. Long after their youthful friendships had hardened and died, they would continue carrying them across their shoulders like laborers hauling sacks of gravel. They cringed at the thought of bringing hurt to one another, no matter how unwittingly, and often they would lie awake at night silently chastising themselves for some tiny slip of manners they feared might have wounded someone.
And so it went on, with the years laying their winters down flat upon their summers, and everyone passing within inches of one another, and everyone looking away . . .
-A Fable Containing a Reflection
The waiters there know you well, but there are days when you enjoy being recognized and days when you don’t, when you want nothing more than the simple curt reactiveness of a stranger.