The icons light up on his laptop, e-mail invites him to grow his penis, enlarge his breasts, refinance his house. All is well in the world.
– Andrei Condrescu, Wakefield
The television was on. It had been on for hours. Years. It was there. TV on demand, a great freedom. Hasn’t Burroughs said there was more freedom today than ever before. Wasn’t that like saying things were more like today than they’ve ever been.
– Lynne Tillman, The Complete Madame Realism
The shocking effects of high explosive and spinning metal strip dignity from death in battle. The crews of burnt-out tanks are reduced to hunched, simian homunculi, and infantry who suffer direct hits from shells may vanish as if they had never existed, or have their passing marked by the discovery of disconnected tatters of mortality.
– The Oxford History of Modern Warfare
There’s a plot afoot all right, and I’ll gladly name the forces propelling it—hysteria, ignorance, malice, stupidity, hatred, and fear. What a repugnant spectacle our country has become! Falsehood, cruelty, and madness everywhere, and brute force in the wings waiting to finish us off.
– Philip Roth, The Plot Against America
A man makes a coat out of an old piece of cloth.
When the coat is in tatters, he makes a vest from the coat.
When the vest is in tatters, he makes a scarf from the vest.
When the scarf is in tatters, he makes a cap from the scarf.
When the cap is in tatters, he makes a button from the cap.
From the button the man makes nothing at all.
And then from the nothing at all he makes this song.
– Jenny Erpenbeck, The End of Days
I had this idea in the middle of the night that maybe I could stop working for the almost astronaut and get a job writing fortune cookies instead. I could try to write really American ones. Already, I’ve jotted down a few of them. Objects create happiness. The animals are pleased to be of use. Your cities will shine forever. Death will not touch you.
– Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation