Based in scenic Oakland, California, he currently works as Creative Director for an asset management firm in downtown San Francisco.
Presumably, the bells of the Church of the Ascension had been reclaimed by the Bolsheviks for the manufacture of artillery, thus returning them to the realm from whence they came. Though for all the Count knew, the cannons that had been salvaged from Napoleon’s retreat to make the Ascension’s bells had been forged by the French from the bells at La Rochelle; which in turn had been forged from British blunderbusses seized in the Thirty Years’ War. From bells to cannons and back again, from now until the end of time. Such is the fate of iron ore.
Amor Towles—A Gentleman in Moscow
As Sonny passed the projects that filled the distance between his apartment and Willie’s, he tried to remember the last time he’d really spoken to his mother. It was 1964, during the riots, and she had asked him to meet her in front of her church so that she could lend him some money. “I don’t want to see you dead or worse,” she’d said, passing Sonny what little change hadn’t made it into the offering plate. As he took the money, Sonny had wondered, What could be worse than dead? But all around him, the evidence was clear. Only weeks before, the NYPD had shot down a fifteen-year-old black boy, a student, for next to nothing. The shooting had started the riots, pitting young black men and some black women against the police force. The news made it sound like the fault lay with the blacks of Harlem. The violent, the crazy, the monstrous black people who had the gall to demand that their children not be gunned down in the streets. Sonny clutched his mother’s money tight as he walked back that day, hoping he wouldn’t run into any white people looking to prove a point, because he knew in his body, even if he hadn’t yet put it together in his mind, that in America the worst thing you could be was a black man. Worse than dead, you were a dead man walking.
Yaa Gyasi — Homegoing
Was she supposed to pray now? She sat at the table in the thin lamplight. It was too dark on the platform to make out where the tunnel began. How long would it take them to root out Caesar? How fast could he run? She was aware of the bargains people made in desperate situations. To reduce the fever in a sick baby, to halt the brutalities of an overseer, to deliver one from a host of slave hells. From what she saw, the bargains never bore fruit. Sometimes the fever subsided, but the plantation was always still there. Cora did not pray.
Colson Whitehead — The Underground Railroad
She had witnessed this scene dozens of times before, her husband yelling at Luke. For joyriding with his friends, theater-hopping, sneaking beer onto the beach in old Coke bottles, smoking reefer in Buddy Todd Park, goading Marines into fights. He wasn’t a bad kid but he was reckless. Black boys couldn’t afford to be reckless, she had tried to tell him. Reckless white boys became politicians and bankers, reckless black boys became dead.
Brit Bennett — The Mothers
“Your mom is in trouble,” Alice said. “The judge will never yield. He’s ruthless and dangerous. You have to take her away. Do you hear me?”<p> “I don’t understand. What’s his grudge against her?” She sighed and looked at the ground. “He’s like the most dangerous species of American there is: heterosexual white male who didn’t get what he wanted.”
Nathan Hill — The Nix
Hatred was easy. The permutations constant over the years: a stranger at a fair who palmed my crotch through my shorts. A man on the sidewalk who lunged at me, then laughed when I flinched. The night an older man took me to a fancy restaurant when I wasn’t even old enough to like oysters. Not yet twenty. The owner joined our table, and so did a famous filmmaker. The men fell into a heated discussion with no entry point for me: I fidgeted with my heavy cloth napkin, drank water. Staring at the wall. “Eat your vegetables,” the filmmaker suddenly snapped at me. “You’re a growing girl.” The filmmaker wanted me to know what I already knew: I had no power. He saw my need and used it against me.
Emma Cline — The Girls
“How can you ask us to go back to our parlors?” I said, rising to my feet. “To turn our backs on ourselves and on our own sex? We don’t wish the movement to split, of course we don’t—it saddens me to think of it—but we can do little for the slave as long as we’re under the feet of men. Do what you have to do, censure us, withdraw your support, we’ll press on anyway. Now, sirs, kindly take your feet off our necks.”
Sue Monk Kidd—The Invention of Wings
A few days go by. Maybe a few weeks. But after that, one by one, other different children start tagging along with Alex and Elsa in the playground and corridors. Until there are so many of them that no one dares to chase them anymore. Until they’re an army in themselves. Because if a sufficient number of people are different, no one has to be normal.
Fredrik Backman—My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Hospitals don’t have the rainbow of directional lines anymore. In the days of butterfly bandages, sutures that didn’t dissolve, and nurses without accents, the admitting nurse would hand you a manila folder and you’d follow the Red Line to Radiology, the Orange to Oncology, the Purple to Pediatrics. But at Killer King, sometimes an emergency room patient tired of waiting to be seen by a system that never seems to care, and holding a plastic cup with a severed finger swimming in long-since-melted ice or staunching the bleeding with a kitchen sponge, sometimes out of sheer boredom they’ll slip over to the glass partition and ask the triage nurse, Where does that brackish-colored line lead to? The nurse will shrug. And unable to ignore the curiosity, they set out to follow a line that took Hominy and me all night to paint, and half the next day to make sure everyone obeyed the WET PAINT signs. It’s a line that’s as close to the Yellow Brick Road as the patients will ever get. Though there’s a touch of cornflower blue in the shade, Pantone 426 C is a strange, mysterious color. I chose it because it looks either black or brown, depending on the light, one’s height, and one’s mood. And if you follow the three-inch-wide stripe out of the waiting room, you’ll crash through two sets of double doors, make a series of sharp lefts and rights through a maze of patient-strewn corridors, and then down three flights of filthy unswept stairs until you come to a dingy inner vestibule lit by a dim red bulb. There, the painted line pitchforks into three prongs, each line leading to the threshold of a pair of unmarked, identical double doors. The first set of doors leads to a back alley, the second to the morgue, and the third to a bank of soda pop and junk-food vending machines. I didn’t solve the racial and class inequalities in health care, but I’m told patients who travel down the brown-black road are more proactive.
Paul Beatty—The Sellout