Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Might Be Killed By A Criminal, Or By An Idiot, At Any Time

That thick mincing pony of a woman returned to her table in the corner of the bistro, twisting the coarse strands of her rusty mane around her fingers as she trotted back. Her nails were painted a gleaming bright blue—Nicole OPI "Blue Lace"—and when her phone buzzed on the glass table, she had trouble picking it up, her blunt nails chattering against the slick plastic flip. She swore and dropped the phone on the floor and bent down to pick it up, her blazer unfolding like origami to reveal most of a rather large pair of heavily-freckled breasts. Her hair dragged across the plain white plate of spanish rice, cold golden grains flecked with spirals of dark green onion and bright halves of cherry tomatoes. She swore, again, and managed to flip the phone open and cursed the number flickering against the luminous display. A few grains of rice glowed against her brassy hair. Her fingers punched a message into the phone and she bent down again—she should really have considered wearing a different jacket, or maybe a blouse underneath, something white and crisp, with more shadows than light, perhaps—and buried her phone in her purse. The woman straightened up quickly, beckoning the waitress over, and ordered a double vodka with water, no, plain, are you listening, no ice, dammit. And when the waitress stumbled on her way back to the bar, stout blacks heels stuttering double-time on the polished slate, the woman looked up with a quick jerk of her strong neck and met my eyes.

Gaelle + "Give It Back" This is the only song I have ever featured twice on this blog. The Windows Media visual projection of this song is a series of shimmering circles, mostly filled with a pale after-midnight aqua, and what more needs to be said? "Longing for / An empty thought / But I seem to think of you instead." A slow-motion song, smooth hands on a black glass of wine. Low-slung couches pushed against a red wall. Many people in a small room, old gold picture-frames high above our heads. The girl with the porcelain collarbone is swinging her shoulders to the music. That couple in the corner, her with the green eyes, him in the white suit, have been together for years. You slowly walk down the narrow stairs, now, and out into the late-night street, a short walk home in the warm summer's night. Tomorrow night will be even better.

Killing Hitler + Roger Moorhouse What matters, I think, in writing history, and especially niche history, is not so much style as tempo, tension, timing. We all know how this book will end. There will be no surprise on the last page of this book. Moorhouse details eight different conspiracies against the infamous Fuhrer and focuses, time and again, not on why the plans failed, but on how close the plans came to succeeding. This constant sense of what-if, combined with sympathetic portrayals of some not-always-so-sympathetic men, including Chamberlain, give this book a page-turning quality not often found in books of historical record. "How could Hitler NOT have been killed?" is the thought constantly in mind. This book explains.

No comments: