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The Goldfinch

It wasn’t the kind of thing you could ask but still I wanted to know. Did she have nightmares too? Crowd fears? Sweats and panics? Did she ever have the sense of observing herself from afar, as I often did, as if the explosion had knocked my body and my soul into two separate entities that remained about six feet apart from one another? Her gust of laughter had a self-propelling recklessness I knew all too well from wild nights with Boris, an edge of giddiness and hysteria that I associated (in myself, anyway) with having narrowly missed death. There had been nights in the desert where I was so sick with laughter, convulsed and doubled over with aching stomach for hours on end, I would happily have thrown myself in front of a car to make it stop.

—Donna Tartt