K: A Novel, p. 7

Taking a wee break from the Ruth Gallowary series (Finished Book #3 last night: Five Stars!) and tackling K: A Novel, which self has been itching to read since she bought it at the AWP Bookfair in March!

From the back cover: Professor Francis Kauffman has unwittingly landed himself in prison where he’s faced with an insurmountable task: execute a fellow inmate.

I know, right? That’s a hell of a one-sentence synopsis.

  • In my darker moments, I look at his eyes — the right pupil is enlarged from some injury — and wonder if he is really that much different from an animal. Because he is the only one besides me who does not read the propaganda books piled on the crate, we assume he cannot read. Let’s say he has an IQ of 70. Through no fault of his own, his abstract reasoning is limited. Nor can he truly enjoy fine art. Would it be a sin to say the man is more animal than me? This is the kind of comment that could get me fired from any number of jobs in civil society, not to mention putting off friends of all stripes. What I mean to say is that if I’m perfectly honest, I can admit that Xu Xuo seems less than human. The blank look in the eyes. He seems to think of nothing. He lies on his cot staring at the ceiling, waiting to be nothing. He is sentenced to death for a crime so terrible as to be unknown in our circle.

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