Also Reading: Valerie Trueblood’s Short Stories

Self is absolutely enjoying Valerie Trueblood’s story collection Marry or Burn.  (It’s very nice to be reading fiction and nonfiction simultaneously.  Especially when the nonfiction —  Christine Montross’ Body of Work —  can be downright macabre)

Trueblood is the equal of William Trevor, Alice Munro, Mary Gaitskill.

That’s how much self loves this book.

Here’s how the second story in the collection, “Suitors,” begins:




These were not the captions under the three faces chosen for our daughter by Lali of DateMate.  They were our captions.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Of Note

The Middle East has certainly been cooking since the start of the year.

First, Egypt, now Libya.  Yes, even in self’s state of Bacolod stupefaction, she was able to absorb world news (TV in L’Fisher Chalet Room 2030, her own private ticket to the entire world!)

Then, last night, self saw a clip of Moammar Gadhafi on TV, and all she could think was: “That man has been the recipient of some maaajor plastic surgery!”  Either that or Botox.  (Why not?  He’s a dictator, he can afford it — !)  The tell-tale signs are there:  the tightness of the skin, the face that is a blurred replica of the old face.

She knows what people look like when they age.  If age comes naturally, one does not end up looking like an effigy.  Does not end up looking like a Photoshop concoction.

And that’s all self has to say on the subject.

Stay tuned.

From Christine Montross’ BODY OF WORK: All About the Resurrection Trade

A few pages earlier — sometime last night — self read a passage in Body of Work:  Meditations on Morality From the Human Anatomy Lab, in which the author interviews two foreign-born pathologists:  one from Nigeria and another from Iraq.  The Iraqi pathologist tells Montross that “none of the corpses in his medical school were native Iraqis.”  Instead, all of the bodies brought to labs for dissection appeared to be “Southeast Asian.”  This truly gave self a lurch.  The man continued by saying that he thought they might be  from Vietnam or Cambodia.

Know what self was thinking?  She was thinking that Vietnamese do not show up in Iraq in sizable enough numbers to make the above situation even remotely plausible.  Self was thinking:  Those bodies are most likely Filipinos.  Only no one knows what we are and when they look at us they think:  Vietnamese.

It is Tuesday morning.  The long weekend is over.  Self got two-and-a-half hours sleep because hubby kept coughing.  Not just the “clearing my throat” kind of stuff.  Self means honest to goodness explosions.  (That’ll be quite enough, self.  One of your New Year’s resolutions might be to stop being such a Drama Queen.)

At least, bleary-eyed though she is, self can still read.

Here’s a passage from Body of Work that self read only a few minutes ago:

As communities grew more vigilant in watching their burial grounds and fending off body snatchers, the demand for bodies nonetheless continued to grow.  As a result the resurrection trade became an import-export trade, with cities like Dublin, nearer to rural areas, shipping bodies across the sea to London.

It’s not difficult to conjure the unpleasantries that must have been associated with the transportation of decomposing bodies over long distances in a ship’s unrefrigerated cargo hold.  The inevitable shipping errors also occurred, sending packages of dry goods and foodstuffs to medical college and thus presumably delivering the intended cadavers to unfortunate, unsuspecting recipients.

Self sincerely hopes that the above excerpt does not interfere with dear blog readers’ breakfast.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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