I finished reading Anthony Marra's outstanding collection of stories (which are put together as a single work--it's nearly a novel): The Tsar of Love and Techno.
“His misery is among the few indulgences I allow myself.”
“Despite inheriting her grandmother’s beautiful figure, Galina danced with the subtlety of a spooked ostrich….If she were anyone else’s granddaughter, we wouldn’t think twice about her dancing like the victim of an inner ear disorder."
“You need a soul the devil wants before you begin bargaining with him.”
“It takes nothing less than the whole might of the state to erase a person, but only the error of one individual--if that is what memory is now called--to preserve her.”
"Behind the ticket counter stood a man as skinny as a soaked poodle. He sported a shirt of swatch-sized plaid and a blond ponytail that, unless destined for a chemotherapy patient, should have been immediately chopped off, buried in an unmarked grave, and never spoken of again. Hipsterdom's a tightrope strung across the canyon of douche-baggery. He clung by a finger."
“Galina had been as vivid as stained glass, but we hadn’t imagined that Kolya might have been the sunlight saturating her.”
“Kolya was a hundred meters of arrogance pressed into a two-meter frame, the kind of young man who makes you feel inadequate for not impressing him. He was forever leaning, slanting, sidling, his existence italicized down to his crooked hat. In another country, he might have grown up to be an investment banker, but here he grew up to be a murderer, the worst kind of murderer, the kind who murdered one of us. “
“The pause was long enough to peel a plum.”
“Turning ‘I would’ to ‘I did’ is the grammar of growing up.”
"If occupations were assigned by disposition, he'd be the supreme leader of a volcanic island republic devoid of natural resources."
"One man gazing at the waters patted his potbelly tenderly. Maybe he'd spent the last fifty years wondering if it could be deployed as a flotation device, and now, finally, would find the answer. There's nothing quite like the sight of two dozen half-naked octogenarians. We enter the stage of life as dolls and exit as gargoyles."
The following paragraph encapsulates the book perfectly, I think. I don't know how it works out of context, but the beauty among the chaos is a major deal:
“Kolya entered the chorus with an orchestra of punch-drunk madmen living in him, belting the tune to the velvet yellow, to the misting lake, to the carcinogens no song could dislodge from his capillaries, and in this amphitheater of decimated industry, on this stage of ice and steel, he taught the granddaughter of a prima ballerina to dance. “
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