March 30th, 2014

head in the books

(no subject)

Just as the street lamps came on the streetcar paused and went dark half a block down. It had slipped its trolley and against the last light of evening the pole groped blindly for the wire overhead, found it at last and came on again, slowly, but with all self-confidence gone; yet bearing its precious load of light caught from that magic wire with a sort of tenderness...

From the first chapter of The Man With the Golden Arm, which won the first National Book Award in 1950. This paragraph in a book with a protagonist named Frankie Machine. Coming out of the war, it's surprising to read this? In a novel in which Frankie Machine has crippled his wife in an auto accident? Some storytellers do have singular visions of the mechanized world, and don't we grant our machines such us-like characteristics, groping blindly as we might for our own eyeglasses on the night stand? If you're around my age, you were born at the end of another war, and you grew up with mixed feelings about this stuff.

Does anybody read this book anymore?

It's a good thing they don't charge extra for using the question mark.