Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Memorable Lines from Nathan Englander's For the Relief of Unbearable Urges

He took a deep breath and ignored his sense of injustice, a rich man’s emotion, a feeling Mendel had given up the liberty of experiencing horrors and horrors before.
—“The Tumblers,” p. 50

The Jewish day begins in the calm of the evening, when it won’t shock the system with its arrival.
—“The Gilgul of Park Avenue,” p. 109

“Eighty-eight dollars’ worth of the blandest food you’ve ever had. The soup is inedible, pure salt. I had a spoonful and needed to take an extra high-blood-pressure pill. I’ll probably die before dinner’s over, and then we’ll have no problems.”
“More and more,” Charles said, taking a yarmulke from his pocket and fastening it to his head, “more and more, you’re the one that sounds like a Jew.”
— “The Gilgul of Park Avenue,” p. 128

“Am I really your second?” she asked.
Dov heard more in the question than was intended. He heard a flirtation; he heard a woman who treated the act of being second as if it were special. He was sad for her—wondering if she had ever been anyone’s first. He did not answer out loud, but instead nodded, affirming.
—“For the Relief of Unbearable Urges,” p. 188

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