Saturday, January 05, 2008

The games men play

Nikolai and Chubinov were behaving as women never would dare to behave. Laura could not imagine any woman saying that she and her friends had never contemplated murdering the Governor of somewhere, and searching the distance for the cause of this exceptional abstinence, with a gentle, misted eye, as if speculating on the whereabouts of a lost umbrella. It would have been funny if the missing object had not been a murder; and what was infuriating was that the two were now suffering agonies of self-pity because it had not paid to treat murders as of no more consequence than umbrellas. What was the point of all these corpses, even leaving out that they were horrible? They could just as well have hung a dummy from that meat-hook in the kitchen of the villa on the Peterhof Road, and agreed that one side would say it was Valentine, and the other that it was Kamensky's brother. They never need have started this stupid game, and they could have stopped it at any moment they chose.

--Rebecca West, The Birds Fall Down


  1. What an evocative excerpt.

  2. The entire novel is just as good. :)


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.