Saturday, July 09, 2011

"Fosberg's love grass, Franciscan manzanita, giant Palouse earthworm"

From Lydia Millet's (lovely, bleak) How the Dead Dream (highly recommended):
What wings lifted him then, what banks shored him up along the river of work? Not the mechanics of the deal: rather it was the faces and the words of those he moved through and past and with in seeking his object, the nuance of his own approach in knowing and predicting the impulses and calculations behind them, that captured his interest. In pitching his company's plans or services it fell to him to read the tics and quirks of investors as he sat across from them in restaurants, county commissioners as he rode the elevator beside them, urban planners across tables in well-lit rooms. He caught the small tells that accompanied a lie, the fluster and the cover-up that followed an inadvertent truth, the way these varied among persons: but he was most astute in that he gave the appearance of being caught up in his own velocity when in fact his mind was carefully fixed on the other.

Although always watchful, always wedded to the close observation of detail, he pretended otherwise. He projected a confident nonchalance, an air of serene neutrality, and with this attitude would casually make reference to vast sums. The rules for his own comportment were few and simple, and first among them was, always speak as though unimpressed by large figures; always convey the impression that the grandiose is commonplace.

And so it will be.
There is also an unusually beautiful list of names in the acknowledgments...

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