proust on memory and the image: the last lines of swann’s way

When Proust ran out of time.

The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. They were only a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.

 

—Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin).

 
 

mickey spillane on writing: “your first line sells the book. your last line sells the next book.”

i-the-jury-753527

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The closing lines of Spillane’s I, The Jury:

“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now, and the judge, and I have a promise to keep. Beautiful as you are, as much as I almost loved you, I sentence you to death.”

(Her thumbs hooked in the fragile silk of the panties and pulled them down. She stepped out of them as delicately as one coming from a bathtub. She was completely naked now. A suntanned goddess giving herself to her lover. With arms outstretched she walked toward me. Lightly, her tongue ran over her lips, making them glisten with passion. The smell of her was like an exhilarating perfume. Slowly, a sigh escaped her, making the hemispheres of her breasts quiver. She leaned forward to kiss me, her arms going out to encircle my neck.)

The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step. Her eyes were a symphony of incredulity, an unbelieving witness to truth. Slowly, she looked down at the ugly swelling in her naked belly where the bullet went in. A thin trickle of blood welled out.

I stood up in front of her and shoved the gun into my pocket. I turned and looked at the rubber plant behind me. There on the table was the gun, with the safety catch off and the silencer still attached. Those loving arms would have reached it nicely. A face that was waiting to be kissed was really waiting to be splattered with blood when she blew my head off. My blood. When I heard her fall I turned around. Her eyes had pain in them now, the pain preceding death. Pain and unbelief.

“How c-could you?” she gasped.

I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in.

“It was easy,” I said.

 

 

 

the devastating ending of gilbert sorrentino’s red the fiend


Гилберт Соррентино Изверг Род Red the Fiend
 

Cover of Russian edition of Red the Fiend (2003)

After 200-plus pages of abuse from his Grandmother and neglect from his Mother, the transformation of Red the boy into Red the Fiend is finally complete:

 

Red is plunged into misery when it occurs to him that photographs of Grandma, taken when she was young, show clearly that she looked then almost exactly the way Mother looks now.

 

The corpse of a rabid dog, shot by a cop on the corner of the Cities Service station, looks to Red so remarkably peaceful that even the shining flies clustered and buzzing on his bloody head cannot dispel the sense of calm surrounding him, the stillness, the repose, the hush.

On a photograph of Grandma standing beneath a tree, smiling yet severe in a fur coat and cloche, red, in careful letters, writes DIRTY OLD CUNT. He props the photograph against the sugar bowl on the kitchen table, and goes in to sit on the couch, to wait quietly for Grandma and Mother. Ecstatic, he feels the world on the edge of obliteration.