Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Quote of the Day (Bernard Malamud, on a Restless Young Man on a Hot Summer Night)

“In the evening after supper George left the house and wandered in the neighborhood.  During the sultry days some of the storekeepers and their wives sat in chairs on the thick, broken sidewalks in front of the shops, fanning themselves, and George walked past them and the guys hanging out on the candy store corner.  A couple of them he had known his whole life, but nobody recognized each other.  He had no place special to go, but generally, saving it till the last, he left the neighborhood and walked for blocks till he came to a darkly lit little park with benches and trees and an iron railing, giving it a feeling of privacy.  He sat on a bench here, watching the leafy trees and the flowers blooming on the inside of the railing, thinking of a better life for himself.  He thought of the jobs he had had since he had quit school - delivery boy, stock clerk, runner, lately working in a factory - and he was dissatisfied with all of them.  He felt he should someday like to have a job and live in a private house with a porch, on a street with trees.  He wanted to have some dough in his pocket to buy things with, and a girl to go with, so as not to be lonely, especially on Saturday nights.  He wanted people to like and respect him.  He thought about these things often but mostly when he was alone at night.  Around midnight he got up and drifted back to his hot and stony neighborhood.”—Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short-story writer Bernard Malamud (1914-1986), “A Summer's Reading,” originally published in The New Yorker, September 22, 1956, collected in The Magic Barrel: Stories (1958)

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