"...The eye/I is an unreliable, an oracle, the I is a dunce & a stumble, a butcher baker candlestick maker, rapscallion thief. The I is a pole with hat & shoes. You, oh you, the you is a woo. The ewe is a wolf in curled-right wool..."
Purchase the full novel from McNally Jackson Booksellers.
“Laulava, shall I, Zixin, tell you the story of what I see? We stare at your chair at the table; we try to imagine it has always been empty. Above us, the dome of the Dining Hall heaves a great sigh but is arrested in a state of inhalation. Outside, the building appears a mound of sand risen from the ground and looks the same color as a dirty biscuit; inside, its ornate ceiling recalls the perfect symmetry of a Petrarchan sonnet. For Jabari the skylight is an oculus through which we are watched, threatened, so that any one of us might be expelled; during the day, through its diameter of twenty-seven feet, the sunlight illuminates Isadora and her small Argentinian nose. Now, at night, a lantern hangs from the ceiling and the flame dances like a bonfire in the sky. The light falls in a beam upon a round table in the center, where Nemesia drops Amelia’s hand and Ezdehar eats only barely, and the reflected light ricochets off their clinking forks until it flickers all around our tables, which extend in circles all around them. The diameter of this rotunda equals that of its height―Avi looks up and contemplates perfection, and wills the distant-you the strength that is your due―this he communicates with the sharpness of his chin and the scholarly indentations of his cheeks. Astor, who has yet to arrive, will remember an image of the Pantheon, and that he has read of a murder committed after a theft. Natalia already contemplates her meat and wonders why they built the building round; she walks through worlds of humans and sees this world undone. Hendrik describes; merely describes, the wooden tables blending into the floor and ourselves, figures in white, gathered for dinnertime. He will tell of the clinking of the forks, of the story of today, “There were forks; they clinked.” To me, it is something else; a deep inhale; the sum of all our stories pressurizing the air inside so that the ceiling does not cave…"