Hawthorn & Child

Keith Ridgway

First Sentence:     He dreamed he was sleeping, and Child was driving.

Back of the book:

Hawthorn and Child are mid-ranking detectives tasked with finding significance in the scattered facts. They appear and disappear in the fragments of this book along with a ghost car, a crime boss, a pick-pocket, a dead racing driver and a pack of wolves. The mysteries are everywhere, but the biggest of all is our mysterious compulsion to solve them. In Hawthorn & Child, the only certainty is that we’ve all misunderstood everything.

Quotes from the book:

I am not a stakeholder. I hold no stake. I pay my taxes. My taxes buy weapons and arm soldiers. My taxes send the soldiers to Afghanistan and formerly Iraq to be terrified and traumatized, and to inflict terror and trauma on others, including the killing and maiming of others, and I do not support Our Boys, it is a volunteer army and I believe that every one of those volunteers is misguided and that their innate, childish, boyish attraction to aggression and adventure and camaraderie is being perverted by malign and morally vacant politicians who are not even clever enough to be operating to anyone’s advantage, not even their own, who are merely drunk on narrative and who see themselves as part of something bigger, such as the delusion of History, and who are impressive only in the scope and depth and profundity of their stupidity.

“He thought of things to write in the book, and he would try to remember them until he got home. It was like trying to hold water in his hands, and sometimes he made it back and sometimes he didn’t. He decided that whenever he forgot something it wasn’t a loss but a correction.”

I hate my life. I read stories all day long. All week long. I read them. I hear them. I listen  to stories and plots and fictions. […] And people read these things. People actually read them from within their lives and the pages are numbered and the numbers are sequential.

“She talked to Beth about it, and she had wanted to describe what the kissing was like; and she wanted to tell her that kissing Stuart was like being inside a Jackson Pollock painting. She really wanted to say that. She was determined to say that. But when it came to it she just said it was really good, and bare sexy. It made her think that maybe Beth and her weren’t as close as she thought. Because why else would she not say what she wanted to say? It was just stupid.”

[…] as if the world was separate from the things in it, the events separate from the people, the people separate from the things they do, as if the things do not come out of thought things, as if there were no traces anywhere, as if we had never noticed dogs and the way they proceed. What a remarkable ambush of shit. What a cloud of frayed cities. What a dust of blood. What a wound. What a pulse of broken teeth. I will fucking kill you . I WILL FUCKING KILL. YOU FUCK.

“When nothing is happening we want something to happen, and when something is happening we want it to stop.”

Mr. Blair is not the owner of his own evil. He is the host if you like – if you want to use the sort of terminology that he has adapted into his own life and heart, the vocabulary of the groping church – he is the possessed corpse of a former human, animated entirely by the spittle-flecked priests of  Rome and by miserable justifications, by ointments of the sagging flesh, the night time coldness of the awful touch. His skin is a manila envelope. It contains an argument, not a heart. But he has made choices and the choices are owned by him, and he owns those choices and he is the chooser of death. He is the chooser of death. He has chosen death and he has chosen to visit it on others when no such choice was necessary. He is the progenitor of the crushed skulls of baby girls. He is the father of the dead bodies of children and the raped mothers and the bludgeoned fathers. He has embraced the murder of his lord, and he has used the people to enact his fantasy and his perversions. He has masturbated over the Euphrates. He has rubbed history against his cold chest like a feeler in the crowd. Like a breather, interferer. Slack muscle of pornography, piece of shit.

* * * *

Last Sentence:     And why did he never dream of this?

Why are all books not like this? Stunning.

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