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This Mawky Wormbent Tabernacle

June 9, 2012

I feel a little bad about the weakness of the would-be Cormac McCarthy pastiche in the previous post. It has been a few years since I have read him, and his rhythms and diction have faded in my memory. As compensation, and to renew my own mental subscription to McCarthian spiel, I offer the following passage from Suttree. In the library copy of this novel that I read — this was maybe six or seven years ago  — someone had copied out the penultimate sentence of this paragraph in pencil on the title page, so guaranteeing that subsequent readers such as myself would mark it firmly in our minds.

Suttree turned up a tinted photograph of a satin lined wickerbound casket with flower surrounds. In the casket a fat dead baby, garishly painted, bright fuchsia cheeks. Never ask whose. He closed the cover on this picturebook of the afflicted. A soft yellow dust bloomed. Put away these frozenjawed primates and their annals of ways beset and ultimate dark. What deity in the realms of dementia, what rabid god decocted out of the smoking lobes of hydrophobia  could have devised a keeping place for souls so poor as is this flesh. This mawky wormbent tabernacle.

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