March 14, 2007

Modern Fiction...

..worth reading. From the New Yorker, written by Tatyana Tolstaya (say five times fast):
I wander from church to church along with the crowd. I listen to its muffled, multilingual murmur, like the rush of the sea; a slow human whirlpool spins me around, and tired, empty faces flash by—as empty as my own; eyeglasses glint; the pages of guidebooks rustle. I squeeze through the narrow doors of churches, push past my neighbors, trying, like everyone else, to get a better view, trying not to become irritated. After all, I think, if Heaven does exist it’s likely that I’ll enter it with just such a flock of sheep, of people—old, not all that smart, a bit greedy. Because if Heaven isn’t for people like us, then who is it for, I’d like to know? Are there really so many others—special people, people who are noticeably better than us ordinary, statistically average souls? No, there aren’t, so in all likelihood I will have to plod across those green meadows with a herd of American tourists, disgruntled that everything is so ancient and small. And, if that is the case, then Heaven must be awful and boring—which, by definition, seems wrong. Everything in Heaven should be utterly sublime.

“I have never seen anything so sublime (see the other side) in my life!” my father wrote. See the other side. An ordinary paradise. What did he see that I don’t see?

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