It's disconcerting to see someone overcome with emotion in a public place. A week or two ago I was walking to work through Times Square and an elderly man walked past me with his face all screwed up in tears, just openly crying. The first thing I thought of was how several years ago in New Haven, near the corner of Park and Chapel, I walked past a restaurant and saw a young Indian guy crouched on the ground outside sobbing. There was nobody else nearby and the guy's face was in his knees so he didn't see me. The image always upsets me. The fact that the guy was just sitting on the street... there's something really unpleasant about the idea of being blindsided by emotional catastrophe so suddenly that you don't even have the time or opportunity to completely isolate yourself and deal with it.
This morning when I went into the subway station I thought about both those incidents again because there was a middle-aged guy in a suit sitting on the stairs and sobbing. A cop came over to him and gently said, "Are you okay?... What's the matter?... What happened?" I didn't hear his answer, if there was one (and if I had heard it, I doubt I would write it here anyway). I'd rather not know.
Here's a Washington Post review of The Quiet Girl, which I reviewed last week and thought was fucking awesome. Regarding the protagonist:
Kasper is erudite, self-confident, enchanting and vegetarian. The scenes where he finagles his way past security guards, secretaries and other gatekeepers -- particularly women -- are breathtaking in their audacity and humor.
Indeed. This is seriously the most I've enjoyed any novel in a very long time and I can't recommend it strongly enough.
(Update: a Bookslut reviewer hated it.)