fiction, Uncategorized

I made my neighbors dislike me from the first

This is from chapter 26, “Blindness,” from Zachary Mason’s The Lost Books Of The Odyssey, his Borgesian re-re-telling-telling of that myth and variations:

“I could have lived among light and ambrosia, bright forever-young things coming and going on each other’s arms and the wine and the night inexhaustible. But that world was flat to me, and for all that my father was great among them I wanted no part of it. Even if she had been true (I am not considered handsome, never have been) I think I would have preferred my island, my farm, my solitude. I have never had the island altogether to myself but I made my neighbors dislike me from the first–from time to time a farm-wife dropped by as in duty bound but I offered no more than politeness required, or a little less, to ensure my privacy. Sometimes in the distance I heard a girl’s singing and I needed no more company.”

I read the book months ago and marked it up with Post-Its to paste here. Getting to some of that now. It reminds me of Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams: the stories are brief, many of them just a page or two long. Each one is a different version of the Odyssey, or some part of it. It’s very good.