Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Celebratory clip

A minor moment from A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (Mercer, 2012), posted in honor of the end of my driving-lesson tribulations--my elder children took their last driving lessons and passed the road exam. No doubt a few hair-raising moments await, but they each have a license...

     “Mommer, would you go comb your hair? You look like a medusa.” Roiphe climbed out of the car, staggering a little as if the ground were a foreign medium.
     Her fingers moved nimbly around her head, collecting the crooked pins into a small dark sheaf, which she bound with a rubber band and dropped into her apron pocket. “You could have been killed, the pair of you, or landed in the county jail with a pack of misfits. Roiphe Tattnal, you don’t know the least thing about driving, no more than a fresh-laid egg.”
     “He does now. The boy proved himself a driver of ingenuity and downright verve.” Pip clambered from the passenger seat and leaned for support against the side of the auto. He was not sure he could walk away yet, having recently been startled by a close call with a straggle of cows in the lane.
     “Lil, that was a dadgum shattering experience, but I believe—I truly believe that he could have done a powerful sight more if he had put his unthrottled genius into the thing. If he survives, Roiphe Tattnal has some kind of a future in transportation.” With a wrench, Pip yanked a bushel basket off a headlamp and surveyed it.
     “First man on the moon,” Alden crowed.
     “First idiot on the moon, more like. Y'all better pluck those chicken feathers off the front before Mr. Louis sees it,” Lil advised. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
     “Would that it were.” Roiphe rolled his eyes dramatically. “All,” he added in case she had not understood.

4 comments:

  1. Motherly duties done - a good feeling!

    Reading this wonderful passage reminds me again that I must reread your book - next on the list for those 2 a.m. sleepytime tea moments!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rereading is the best reading... thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah for Team Marly! Now you should get them some tank of a car. My parents got me a 1985 ford escort. It was built like a tank. We would drive real fast down gravel roads and slam the breaks on and spin around. Oh man, that was some good times and I really got to learn how a car moves and pull it out of a spin...but thats I guess what redneck kids do for fun.

    Sus

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sister-out-law:

    Don't plant those seeds! They actually seem quite sedate...

    They can get their own cars, I hope--we're forking over the college educations, so let 'em get their own rattletraps!

    (She says now--who knows?)

    ReplyDelete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.