The Mars Room, p. 140: The Bulgarian Woman

She was like an orphan in a huge, unknown country. Doc adopted her for a while, and she was good at cooking and cleaning. But she sulked a lot, and he realized quiet people can control you just as effectively as loud ones.

The Mars Room pp. 60 – 61

From that day forward, on every occasion that I was forced to spend in court, the prosecutors were consistently the most competent-looking people in the courtroom. They were handsome and slick and tidy and organized, with tailored clothes and expensive leather briefcases. The public defenders, meanwhile, were recognizable on account of their bad posture, their ill-fitting suits and scuffed shoes. The women wore their hair in short, ugly, practical cuts. The men had various styles of non-styles of long hair, and every one of them was guilty of exceeding width limits on their ties.

Rachel Kushner on the Sunset District

The Mars Room, p. 33:

  • The city to me was the Sunset District, fog-banked, treeless, and bleak, with endless unvaried houses built on sand dunes that stretched forty-eight blocks to the beach, houses that were occupied by middle- and lower middle-class Chinese Americans and working-class Irish Catholics.

Tee-Hee, Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room is so in-your-face, so sassy.

It mentions Carol Doda and there is indeed a San Francisco institution called Carol Doda. In fact, on self’s first family trip to the United States (She was 13), her father was super-excited to get to San Francisco to see a Carol Doda performance. But Carol Doda was already pretty old by then, so he was vastly disappointed. In fact, when self asked her father when he got back to the hotel later that night what he thought of Carol Doda he had this look on his face and said only one word: “Old.” (Come to think of it, it is pretty wild that she, a convent girl from the Philippines, was asking her father what he thought of San Francisco’s most famous stripper. Wilder is that he thought self had asked a perfectly legitimate question because he answered in all sincerity)

Since The Mars Room is set in San Francisco, self wondered if there was an actual — ehem! — establishment. She guesses not because the only place she could find after googling was a Mars Bar and Restaurant on Brennan.

In Rachel Kushner’s novel, the manager of the Mars Room is called D’ARTAGNAN.

RUDE!

Self loves it.

Stay tuned.

Convo, The Mars Room, p. 21

“In prison at least you know what’s going to happen. I mean, you don’t actually know. It’s unpredictable. But in a boring way. It’s not like something tragic and awful can happen. I mean, sure it can. Of course it can. But you can’t lose everything in prison, since that’s already taken place.”

The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner

p. 9:

  • I sometimes think San Francisco is cursed. I mostly think it’s a sad suckville of a place. People say it’s beautiful, but the beauty is only visible to newcomers, and invisible to those who had to grow up there. Like the glimpses of blue bay through the breezeways along the street that wraps around the back of Buena Vista Park.

There is something about the holidays. The books she reads stay and stay and stay with her. For example, she only read two books last December, but both were great: The Unwomanly Face of War, by Svetlana Alexievich; and Kudos, by Rachel Cusk.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

When Her Husband Left Everything to Kent, the Servant

As if things were not just getting absolutely awful for poor Anne Glenconner (Her two eldest sons dead, the third in a coma), her husband Colin flees to the Caribbean, and becomes close to a servant named Kent.

A Night at the Opera, p. 294

It was going well until halfway through the Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves in the opera’s third act when, to my absolute horror, Colin started to wail and scream beside me. “Colin, what is the matter?” I asked.

“I wish Kent was here,” he wailed.

“Honestly, I don’t think Kent would enjoy it, but I am here.”

But he continued to wail, “No, no, I want Kent!”

By this time, more and more of the audience were turning their heads in our direction. Seeing the rug over Colin’s knees, I grabbed it and threw it over his head, hoping it would shut him up. To my amazement, he didn’t tear it off and, with his wails now considerably muffled, the audience turned their attention back to the stage. Shrinking into my seat, I hoped the saga was over, but the worst embarrassment was yet to come. When the chorus finally ended, the conductor turned to the audience and announced, “Under the circumstances, I think we will have to have that again.” I was utterly mortified as the chorus began again.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The British Stiff Upper Lip on Full Display

p. 232 of Lady in Waiting:

Three years after their eldest child became hooked on heroin, the Glenconners decided to dis-inherit him. The boy was 19. He had to sign a contract, agreeing to relinquish all rights to the British properties (there were substantial properties also in the Caribbean, but the contract only covered Britain. Because the British properties were more important to the family name?)

Darn, even at 19 the kid had enough savvy to require two conditions: a) a bigger monthly allowance; b) an agreement that his parents “cover his future medical bills.” (Did he, self wonders, hire his own lawyer?)

The parents’ fear was that, if anything happened to them, and their ‘seat’ fell to the eldest, he would sell it for drugs. The contract protected the property for future generations. The decision must have been very painful. But — three years? They reached that decision when their son had been addicted for just three years? That was a business decision.

Stay tuned.

Imelda Out-Colins Colin

Anne Glenconner pinch-hits for an ill Princess Margaret in Manila, where she and her husband are wined and dined by Imelda:

“The singing sprees continued until 3 a.m., when she would drop us off at the house, only to arrive again at eight the next day. Colin continued to be an asset, although after enduring a few days of Madame Marcos’s intense entertainment, he declared, “I simply can’t stand this anymore. This is the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done. I’m going home.” — Lady-in-Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, p. 211

And Colin is no slouch, either: among other things, he single-handedly turned the island of Mustique into a playground for the wealthy.

The thing about Filipinos: their hospitality is relentless. And if you shun them, they do bear grudges.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Challenges of Being a LADY IN WAITING!

Anne Glenconner accompanies Princess Margaret on a tour of Australia. It rains very hard in Melbourne.

p. 194:

  • Princess Margaret’s shoes got terribly wet, so when we sat down for lunch, I took them to see if they could be dried, giving them to the lady in the cloakroom, who, some time later, gave me an almost unrecognizable pair of shoes back. They were horribly misshapen and completely stiff. When I asked what she had done, she proudly said, “I put them in the microwave.” Princess Margaret, who had no choice but to put them back on, hobbled around glaring at me for the rest of the day.

« Older entries

Ohm Sweet Ohm

Adventures in life from the Sunshine State to the Golden Gate

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Asian Cultural Experience

Preserving the history and legacy of Salinas Chinatown

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust and Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery

transcribingmemory

Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

unbolt me

the literary asylum

CSP Archives

Archive of the CSP

The 100 Greatest Books Challenge

A journey from one end of the bookshelf to the other

Random Storyteller

A crazy quilt of poems, stories, and humor