Thursday, January 6, 2011

Excerpt: Broom of the System

I'm half way through Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace. BOTS was Wallace's first novel. Its plot centers around baby-foods heiress Lenore Beadsman and her dysfunctional family. I'm loving it all but no part as much as this description of the Amherst quad as seen through the eyes of the protagonist Lenore Beadsman's alumni beau.
"The structures spread out, grow, wave at me with the epileptic flutter of the film in reverse. The boys are different, appropriately, from the girls. From each other. I see blonde heads and lean jaws and bowlegged swaggers and biceps with veins in them. I see so many calm, impassive, or cheerful faces, faces at peace, for now and always, with the context of their own appearance and being, that sort of long-term peace and smooth acquaintance with invariable destiny that renders the faces bloodlessly pastable onto cut-outs of corporates directors in oak-lined boardrooms, professors with plaid ties and leather patches at the elbows of their sportjackets, doctors on bright putting greens with heavy gold shock-resistant watches at their wrists and tiny beepers at their belts, black jacketed soldiers efficiently bayoneting the infirm. I see Best faces, faces I remember well. Faces whose owners are going to be the Very Best." p.209
"I see the faces of those whole belong and those who do not belong. The belonging faces appear in rows, like belts of coins. The coins bob up and down, because belongers swagger. The belonging faces are tiringly complex, the expression of each created and propped up, through processes obscure, by the faces on either side of it.

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