Monday, September 26, 2011

Aimless Reading: The O's, Part 6.1 (Michael Ondaatje)

The English Patient by Michael_Kelleher
The English Patient, a photo by Michael_Kelleher on Flickr.
Ondaatje, Michael
The English Patient

Sent to me by the publisher in anticipation of the author's visit to Buffalo in 2008. I am drawing a blank on this one, so I'll just post an excerpt an move on.

from The English Patient

She stands up in the garden where she has been working and looks into the distance. She has sensed a shift in the weather. There is another gust of wind, a buckle of noise in the air, and the tall cypresses sway. She turns and moves uphill toward the house, climbing over a low wall, feeling the first drops of rain on her bare arms. She crosses the loggia and quickly enters the house.

In the kitchen she doesn't pause but goes through it and climbs the stairs which are in darkness and then continues along the long hall, at the end of which is a wedge of light from an open door.

She turns into the room which is another garden--this one made up of trees and bowers painted over its walls and ceiling. The man lies on the bed, his body exposed to the breeze, and he turns his head slowly towards her as she enters.

Every four days she washes his black body, beginning at the destroyed feet. She wets a washcloth and holding it above his ankles squeezes the water onto him, looking up as he murmurs, seeing his smile. Above the shins the burns are worst. Beyond purple. Bone.

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