Past Squares 7: A Look Back at This Kickass Reading Year (2021)

This is also today’s post for Life of B’s Past Squares!

TSD Sentence of the Day

Still from the Colonel Novak point of view, but delving more into his family life, or lack thereof. Self really feels for the man, especially after she reads this, which is the TSD Sentence of the Day, this last Wednesday of September 2021:

  • After he had made a great effort to attend his elder son’s wedding, Ivan, the groom, had shaken his hand and said “Thank you very much for coming, sir,” as if he was just an ordinary guest.

What the — !!!! Holy — !!!!! That’s exactly what son said to self at HIS wedding! During a groom + mother dance during which even the wedding photographers disgustedly turned off their cameras because self, it turned out, was no dancer.

Russian Secret Police, Not To Be Deterred

Take heart, dear blog readers. Self is on p. 374 of The Slaughterman’s Daughter, which means there is a chance she will stop blogging about it, perhaps as soon as tomorrow! (Readers give collective sigh of relief).

Last night, sitting on her bed, she laughed so much and so loud, she’s sure the next-door neighbors heard. She was reading about a poor scarecrow of a man who could easily have stepped out of Don Quixote.

Here we are in a Russian Secret Police/Colonel Piotr Novak section:

God give him strength, he only met the four zyds a week ago. The lady of the group murdered his agents, another member of the group crushed his leg, and their toothpick of a companion wouldn’t stop singing. The one with the most alarming appearance, the scarred-mouth thug, was silent as a rock. None of them would be described as scholarly. If they had worn plain peasant clothes, they could have easily passed as local farmers. The woman was indeed intriguing, a Jewish Joan of Arc, perhaps, but goddamit what woman behaves like a wild beast

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 374

Self knows she should hate Colonel Piotr Novak, but she just can’t. Or, to put it another way, she doesn’t want him to be off-ed until his humiliation is complete.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

A Whore Addresses Adamsky

Four people are fleeing from the Czar’s secret police and one of them, Adamsky, is, for some reason, wandering around a camp by himself (Maybe because the others are sleeping?). He has lately had to forsake his livelihood (a tavern) and throw in his fortunes with Fanny, Zizev, and a drunken cantor. This intensifies his tendency towards introspection.

He stumbles across a pod of army officers and nondescript women gathered around a bonfire. They invite him to join them, and he accepts.

One of the women gets up and sits next to Adamsky. “You’re really old,” she giggles, but for some reason he is not offended. “You have wrinkles in the corners of your eyes.”

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 332

Later, Adamsky will fall madly in love with this woman — in fact will crush “seven noses (leaving one man completely snoutless) and tear off twenty-one earlobes” simply to get back to her.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

This One’s a Real Winner

Quote of the Day, Last Monday of September 2021:

Dr. Yakunin administered medicines strictly in inverse proportion to their necessity. He kept chloroform from the dying and let them writhe in agony, whereas patients overcoming mild infections were given sedatives in high doses. Surprisingly, this absurd system worked because all his patients tried to show signs of recovery, to obtain prescriptions if nothing else. This spared Dr. Yakumin from having to deal with the usual charades of screams and groaning, and his clinic was consequently an oasis of tranquillity.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 258

TSD Quote of the Day, Last Sunday of September 2021

People are pigs. It’s a rotten world.

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, p. 218

TSD Quote of the Day

Reading The Slaughterman’s Daughter at a snail’s pace. At this rate, should finish by the end of the month. Self loves all the action scenes. She doesn’t think she’s read action scenes like this since The Age of Madness, Joe Abercrombie’a Grimdark series.

  • The grandmother replies, “Not everyone is miserable, Mrs. Speismann, not everyone! There are shades and grades in these matters!” — TSD, p. 171

Quote of the Day: Fourth Wednesday of September 2021

“The world is on the brink of complete annihilation. If my daughter wants to gird her thigh with a knife for slaughtering chickens, so be it.”

— Meir-Anschil Schecter, The Slaughterman’s Daughter

The Slaughterman’s Daughter, pp. 84 – 85

When he saw Fanny, he tugged at his beard and said, “Everyone is leaving.”

“Who is leaving, Reb Halperin?” she asked.

“You might as well ask who is not leaving,” he said. “The Weissmans are leaving, and the Rosensteins and the Grossmans and the Alhermans.”

“Where are they going, Reb Halperin?”

“You’d better ask where they are not going. Some go to Ellis Island and some to Berlin and some to St. Petersburg and some to Palestine.”

“And what is wrong with that?” she asked.

“And what is good about that?” he said.

The Revenge of the Dog Tzileyger

When you try and separate a dog from its bone.

There was a time when self had two beagles. And they were generally well-behaved and gentle creatures — until one of them tried to poach the other’s food. Then they would growl and bite and scratch. If self tried to intervene, they would even snap at her.

In The Slaughterman’s Daughter (which self finds highly enthralling), a man who has been baiting a starving dog (the dog’s name is Tzileyger, which is probably the only time in self’s memory when a stray dog has been given a name. And not just any name, but one with three syllables) gets his come-uppance. Self will spare dear blog readers the gruesome passage, but the doctor who treats the man’s wounds comments, “I’m afraid he will live.”

p. 57: “The old man never appeared in public again.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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