Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Novel Fragment/Teaser

Alone, he remembers to write.

He sends letters. He describes the landscape and becomes the image of his surroundings to the people who read his postcards and letters. He speaks of himself as a feature of the places he visits, practically in the third person, his own tiny image in the corner of a bigger picture. (Bruegel: The Fall of Icarus.) His hand across the postcard is nowhere, describes a static scene with precision, false objectivity, with imaginary calm—written to be read two weeks later by which time he’ll be somewhere else. The autobiographer never gives himself away, is guarded by his own hand. An autobiographer never commits suicide.

Between his meetings with Persey he lives in the joy of being just that unfulfilled, of waiting to see her again. Like the workers busy with the trees in Bruegel’s Stormy Day—hurrying to be ready. He sends postcards of these two paintings off to friends back home, having seen them in the National Gallery in Brussels. He passes Bruegel’s house every morning on his walk from the youth hostel to the only café he can find that’s open in the city at six in the morning when the jet lag pushes him excitedly out of bed and into the streets. A traveler, all this feels more real to him than any glib message he can squeeze into the three-by-five format. He has slipped out of his place in time. He knows that the people receiving these postcards are going through the same motions today as yesterday back in San Francisco, and that now, for the first time in his life, he’s marginally free, unable to understand what they’re saying all around him.

This is a fragment from my first novel, Inbetween, which I'm currently revising for publication next year. While this section has just been cut from the novel, I like it to much to consign it to oblivion forever so here it is for your reading pleasure. Two lovers, Americans, twenty-somethings, struggle with their relationship, art, and politics while experiencing Europe for the first time, just as the Cold War comes to an end and the reign of terrorism begins. Peak your interest?

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