Bernard had planned for today to be the last day of his life. He stared out the window of his office on the 35th floor of the Maxwell building, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. If he peered through the telescope he kept near the window, he could see The Campanile of the University of California, Berkeley campus. It supposedly resembled St. Mark’s Campanile in Piazza San Marco in Venice. He didn’t see it that way. He saw it as an artifice, an historical pastiche derived from a tower in an ancient European city. As far as Bernard was concerned, it was a failure, same as him.
Four days after I moved with my family from Mumbai, India, to Cleveland, Ohio, I picked up the phone to order pizza. I had eaten pizza twice before in Mumbai–at a small eatery that served a spicy-sweet sauce and cheese on a six-inch pizza base. (This happened over twenty years ago. In 2021 pizza is widely available in India.) But now in Cleveland, I couldn’t wait to try the exotic version I’d seen in American TV shows and comic books.
I dialed a number from a flyer that had come in the mail. “Hello, I would like to order pizza.”
“Sure,” said a young male voice at the other end. “You have Q-pins?”
Reviewed by Shura Price, Andy Fraser, Steve Welsh, Theresa Sowerby & Zoe Collins from Todmorden Wednesday Writers
Writer: Gordon Lish
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Release date: 13th April 2021
I am not the voice of my generation
and yet, I am a voice of my generation
An inspirational English teacher will stay with you forever, infuse your mind mind with a love of language and literature, and an appreciation of the beauty of the language. I met Phil Riley when I was in my second year at Grammar School, and he almost put me off the subject for life. He spent the first lesson talking about himself, and how wonderful we would find his class if we were refined enough to appreciate it.
Ah, no, that’s unfair, Jason. He was a decent man trying to explain his expectations. He would have preferred, I’m sure, to have been extolling the delights of Wordsworth: it’s just gobshites like you that made the talk necessary.