“I didn’t know the half, didn’t want to know any fractions at all. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I could live with a running toilet bowl.”

Breaking away from the wall-to-wall nonstop breakneck Short Story coverage here for a moment to share some fun from Part of the World.  Maybe I’ll regret this comparative declaration come the rapture, but I’m getting some Ticknor feelings from this book, and this narrator – Ticknorish, but a more wry Ticknor, unintentionally so.  Lopez is withholding exactly what this guy’s deal is – I don’t know if he will pull a reveal of any sort toward the end; part of me hopes so, part of me hopes not.  Whatever the case, he’s got a wise innocence to a lot of his interactions and thoughts – not as in a precocious Home Alone sort of way, but just a way – something happened to him, and his understanding of the world around him is just slightly ajar, a little bit out of alignment.  It’s engrossing, following his train of thought (often doubling back on itself, with slight changes), and I got a good bang out of the narrator and his acquaintance rolling a dresser down a summer street to narrator’s apartment.  The whole thing goes on for a few pages, so I offer this abbreviated excerpt:

We managed to roll the chest of drawers all the way to my apartment without much friction between my acquaintance and I.  The operation took two hours.  At one point my acquaintance began cursing me using the vilest expressions imaginable, which was part of his heritage.  I did not respond to the cursing, as I was cursing myself, as well.  I figured it was best to say nothing at all.  My acquaintance was conceived, incubated and born without incident.  Reared in traditional dysfunctional fashion by two maladjusted parents, having all the requisite trials, tribulations and triumphs of a normal male human during the back end of the twentieth century.  Recently he had contracted Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  At least that’s what he said.  He never consulted a doctor and didn’t plan to.  In his part of the world, the part of the world he grew up in, they often curse each other and shit blood.  It is a birthright.  Otherwise he was concerned with cable television and his wife.  I couldn’t keep it straight.


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