“When my daughters moved to Toronto, where their father had lived and worked for years, I was embarrassed and amazed to discover I wasn’t upset; I felt light, as if only then had I definitely brought them into the world. For the first time in almost twenty-five years I was not aware of the anxiety of having to take care of them.”
“How many things did I scream at her that it would have been better not even to think. I wanted – now that I had come back – my daughters to depend only on me. At times it even seemed to me that I had created them by myself, I no longer remembered anything about Gianni, nothing intimately physical, his legs, his chest, his sex, his taste, as if we had never touched each other. When he went to Canada, that impression hardened, that I had nourished the girls only on myself, that I sensed in them only the female line of my descent, for good and ill. So my anxieties increased. For several years Bianca and Marta did badly in school, obviously they were upset. I got mad at them, pushed them, harassed them. I said: what do you want to do in life, where do you want to end up, do you want to go backward, degrade yourselves, abolish all the efforts your father and I have made, return to being like your grandmother, who got no farther than elementary school. To Bianca I murmured, depressed: I’ve spoken to your teachers, how you’ve embarrassed me. I saw them both going off track, they seemed to me more and more pretentious and ignorant. I was sure that they would fail in their studies, in everything, and there was a period when I relaxed only when I knew they had been disciplined; then they began to do well at school and the shadows of the women of my family vanished.”
6. In Part One, we get to know Abra mostly through her parents or other adults. In Part Two, we get to know her much better. What do you think of this extraordinary girl?
7. Do you have any speculations on what the True Knot are? We know how they sustain themselves, and we've seen the way they die. They're not, as Abra calls them, "ghostie people," but they aren't really human either.
2. Danny has now become Dan. In Part One, we watch his transformations from learning to live with the horrors of The Overlook to succumbing to the drink (like his father) to his road to sobriety and earning the title of Doctor Sleep. What do you think about the journey King has taken Dan on thus far?
3. We are also introduced to the True Knot in this first section. What do you think about this group?
"Well," I said, "I will try. I honestly will try to be honest with you, although I suppose really what you're more interested in is my not being honest, if you see what I mean."
The doctor smiled slightly.
"When I was a child my mother had a wool drawer. It was the bottom drawer in a chest in the dining room and she kept every scrap of wool she had in it. You know, bits from years ago, jumpers she'd knitted me when I was two. Some of the bits were only a few inches long. Well, this drawer was filled with wool, all colours, and whenever it was a wet afternoon she used to make me tidy her wool drawer. It's perfectly obvious why I tell you this. There was no point in tidying the drawer. The wool was quite useless. You couldn't have knitted a tea-cosy out of that wool, I mean without enormous patience. She just made me sort it out for something to do, like they make prisoners dig holes and fill them up again. You do see what I mean, don't you?"
"You would like to be something useful," he said sadly. "Like a tea-cosy."
"It can't be as easy as that."
"Oh no. It's not at all easy. But there are other things you can make from wool."
"Hot water bottle covers," he said promptly.
I asked my husband for I famous person, 2 animals, 1 general location, 1 well-known location, 1 type of travel, 1 general direction, 1 time of day, 2 colors, 1 sound and 1 instrument of sound
My Thoughts: I looked forward to this book having enjoyed a few of Michael Chabon’s other books but, this book was just okay for me. Fortunately, I found more reasons to continue reading this book than to put it down for good, although I came close to giving up on it several times. The characters in Telegraph Avenue are largely responsible for keeping me reading the book. Archy Stallings is one of the main characters in this book and a charming albeit complex and flawed man. Raised in Oakland, CA, he owns Brokeland Records with his best friend, Nat Jaffe. Brokeland Records used to be an old-fashioned barber shop. The kind were men gather in the afternoon to chat and read the papers. Much of the former barbershops clientele hangs out at Brokelend Records, still, giving the store a traditional air. Recently, there's been a change in the air at Brokeland Records. There’s a feeling of melancholy in the air of the shop now because Gibson Goode, a former NFL star, is rumored to be opening a large mall just down the street, the main attraction being a large music store that will also be selling vinyl. So Archy and Nate are out of sorts at the moment and trying to figure out what to do.
“Damn right,” said the man they were escorting from the hall, and as they came nearer, Mr. Nostalgia saw that it really was him. Thirty years too old, twenty pounds too light, forty watts too dim, maybe: but him. Red tracksuit a size too small, baring his ankles and wrists. Jacket waistband riding up in back under a screened logo in yellow, a pair of upraised fists circled by the words BRUCE LEE INSTITUTE, OAKLAND, CA. Long and broad-shouldered with that spring in his gait, coiling and uncoiling. Making a show of dignity that struck Mr. Nostalgia as poignant if not successful. Everybody staring at the guy, all the men with potbellies and back hair and doughy white faces, heads balding, Autumn leaves falling in their hearts. Looking up from the bins full of back issues of Inside Sports, the framed Terrible Towels with their bronze plaques identifying the nubbly signature in black Sharpie on yellow terrycloth as that of Rocky Bleier or Lynn Swann. Lifting their heads from the tables ranged with rookie cards of their youthful idols (Pete Maravich, Robin Yount, Bobby Orr) with canceled checks drawn on long-vanished bank accounts of Ted Williams or Joe Namath, unopened cello packs of ’71 Topps baseball cards, their fragile black borders pristine as memory, and of ’86 Fleer basketball cards, everyone holding a potential rookie Jordan. Watching this big gray-haired black man they half-remembered, a face out of their youth, get the bum’s rush. That’s the dude from the signing line. Was talking to Gibson Goode, got kind of loud. Hey, yeah, that’s what’s-his-face. Give him credit, the poor bastard managed to keep his chin up. The chin – him, all right – with the Kirk Douglas dimple. The light eyes. The hands, Jesus, like two up-rooted trees.
THE DAYS WERE already growing shorter, prodding us toward summers end, when my mother and I left Boston for the sequestered town of Nye. She hummed to the radio and I sat strapped into the passenger seat, like a convict being shuttled between prisons. In the last six months my Beacon Hill neighborhood had shrunk to the size of a single room: Dr. Patrick's office, with its greasy magazines and hieroglyphic water stains. The vast landscape that opened before us now wasn't any more comforting. The mountainous peaks resembled teeth. The road stretched between them like a black tongue. And here we were, in our small vehicle, speeding toward that awful mouth.
From the maps and photographs I had uncovered at the Boston Public Library, I knew that Nye would be a nest of gloomy woods sunk into one of these mountains. The mountain had no name, which troubled me. Even the word “Nye” sounded like a negation, an absence, a place conflicted about its own existence.
My mother (Ivy League MRS recipient and full-time philanthropy board member) was unimpressed by this detail. In fact, she was chipper as a Today Show host. “Isn't it exciting, Iris! Starting high school on a new foot?”
“You want to replace my biological foot with a prosthetic one?”
“Don't give me that cliché nonsense.”
You mean anti-cliché nonsense, I thought, and switched the station to NPR. I tried to let the familiar voices soothe me, but every mile brought us closer to the hunching mountains, those hills overlapping like the folds of a thick curtain, hiding Nye from sight.
The official reason for my family's move was professional. My father (savvy businessman, befuddled parent) was opening a second Berkshires resort for tourists who liked to experience nature while they had their leg hair singed off with lasers and their eyelashes dyed. The unofficial reason we were leaving Boston, however, was Dr. Patrick. I'd started seeing him six months before, after my mother found me arguing emphatically with the wall. Well, all she saw was the wall, but I was having a conference with my spiritual mentor, Edward R. Murrow. (And, yes, I knew he'd been dead for forty-seven years, but why should a person limit her interlocutors to the living?) And because there was no “What to Do When Your Daughter Talks to Dead Journalists” chapter in the myriad self-help books my mom had been reading, she shipped me straight off to the good doctor.