Extract

Page 68. 9am. Halfway down.

This is not my usual sort of post, but I could not resist sharing with you this extract from Marilynne Robinson’s 1980 novel Housekeeping (which I have been reading on the 59):

‘Lucille and I still doubted that Sylvie would stay. She resembled our mother, and besides that, she seldom removed her coat, and every story she told had to do with a train or a bus station. But not till then did we dream that we might be taken from her. I imagined myself feigning sleep while Sylvie brushed my short brown hair into long golden ringlets, dropping each one carefully on the pillow. I imagined her seizing my hands and pulling me after her in a wild waltz down the hall, through the kitchen, through the orchard, the night moonless and I in my nightgown, almost asleep. Just when the water in the orchard had begun to rush from us and toward us and to leap against the trunks of trees and plash against our ankles, an old man in a black robe would step from behind a tree and take me by the hand – Sylvie too stricken to weep and I too startled to resist. Such a separation, I imagined, could indeed lead to loneliness intense enough to make one conspicuous in bus stations. I occurred to me that most people in bus stations would be conspicuous if it were not for the numbers of others there who would otherwise be conspicuous in the same way. Sylvie, at that moment, would hardly be noticed in a bus station.’

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