34: The Empanada Brotherhood

by John Nichols

describes a few friends, Argentinians, and one “blondie” who became friends around an Empanada stand in New York City in the 60s.

I’ve never had an Emapanda, it’s like a breakfast burrito?

The ending was kind of upsetting for me because everyone left, and life went on, kind of. The narrator was absolutely lovely, since I saw so much of myself in him that it couldn’t be any other way than to see him as lovely.

It’s a short fast read as well, a bit French and Spanish thrown in.

Fun fast writing, easy to read, fun stories, lots of things that are hard to imagine because the concept and the image is so out there, lots of beauty and dreams, hard work and sweat, broken hearts and hearts that was stolen by the idea of wealth and fame.

naturally there were some really wonderful lines.

pg46 I had never seen people working so hard to be artists.
“Maybe when you publish your first book you’ll dedicate it to me,” Cathy said afterward, gasping as she pulled on some dungarees, then stripped her skirt off down and over them. “Do you think you will ever publis a book?”
I shrugged, smiling self-consciously. “I don’t know.”
“If you don’t know you’re fucked,” she said. “I know I’m going to success, not just in Argentina or New York, but one day also in Spain. it’s a fact, written in my book.”

pg55 Then she pattered down the steps, hurrying to catch up with jorge while I waved good-bye like somebody in a movie.

(which movie did you think of? I thought of the way Meg Ryan waved good bye to Tom Hanks near the end of You’ve got Mail, yes I loved that movie)

page58 She said, “[...] One year I got a ball and a yo-yo and a notebook. That’s the last time I ever received something for nothing. In real life if you want anything good you have to kill yourself to grasp it. Isn’t that right, Jorge?”

Jorge shurgged and smoked his cigarette like a professional actor in a gangster movie. To me, the two of them together seemed like ancient souls trapped in adolescent bodies. And for the rest of the practice session they ignored me completely.

page 72: “To be an artist you can’t care about anyone except yourself,” Cathy told me. “I can get away with murder because right now I am so beautiful.”

page 125: “I’m not afraid of anything,” I lied. “I’m just quiet, I guess. I’m sorry.”

page 147:
Alfonso placed his arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “You won’t die, nene. I promise.”
“How do you know?”
He said, “Humanity is crazy, but not that crazy. No species that created Shakespeare, Mozart, Picasso, and Marilyn Monroe could ever destroy itself. I promise.”
I replied, “But the same species created Hitler, Mussolini, and Jack the Ripper.”
He soffed, “those jerks were canceled out long ago by Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.”
“What about Stalin and Tojo?” I asked.
He retorted while cleaning his glasses on a filthy handkerchief: “They are easily trumped by Tostoy, Borges, Dickens, and Neruda.”
“Okay. You win, profe. I give up. Let’s go to a movie.”
“There’s a Jacques Tati film at the NEw school, blondie.”
So that’s where we ewnt. And the movie was zany and delightful and it really cheered me up.

Life is depressing because the really bad people, you can’t name them, because they’re lurking in everybody’s lives, pretending to be good. That’s scary, the people pretending to do something good while doing something completely evil, the people without faces without names, the ones that are destroying everyday people’s lives, the ones that history can’t condemn, those are the worst people.

If you’re going to do something bad, stand out and do it, don’t hide.


Posted: May 22nd, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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