On Grace

Bastian, who Kellas had just met, had said an unusual grace before the meal:

Kellas asked about Bastian’s grace before the meal. Astrid glanced at him and smiled (…). She explained that Bastian didn’t believe in God, but believed the flaws and limits of man required him to have some way of filling the needs that religion otherwise supplied. These were hope, gratitude, humility, restraint, confession, and atonement. He’d found such a way for himself, and it came out in his graces, his conversations and his counsel.

From We Are Now Beginning Our Decent, by James Meek (published 2008).

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Beasts and Beauties of the Moment

A damaged man assesses a damaged woman:

Now, in the morning, seeing her in front of him, proud and nervous, it was difficult to see her alcoholism as anything other than a recurring wound which would open and bleed unpredictably, but just as surely heal again. That the Astrid he had loved was real, yet not a fully able human; if any were fully able. The terms had changed. It was no longer a question of whether he was looking at an alcoholic disguised as Astrid, or Astrid carrying a drinker’s scars. Now the question could only be who Kellas was – the Kellas who had been repelled by the drunken Astrid, or the Kellas who could barely see the marks that the drinking had made in the sober women of Wednesday; or a Kellas who understood that both Astrid and himself were to be perceived not as the beasts and beauties of this or that moment, but as the long, twisting shapes they carved in time as they flowed through it.

From We Are Now Beginning Our Descent, by James Meek (published 2008).

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment