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5

Sentimental Education

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notes

Smith, Z. (2019). Sentimental Education. In Smith, Z. Grand Union: Stories. Penguin Press, pp. 5-24

7

[...] Probably her husband had his own dull map of roads not traveled. You grow conventional in middle life. Choices made over time present themselves as branches running off the solid oaks that line the overground route to Kensal Rise. You grow gray, and thick in the hips. Yet, on happier days, she saw the same small, high breasts, the same powerful long legs, the familiar and delicious brown animal looking back at her, almost never ill and very strong. How much of this was reality? How much delusion? This was the question of the age, as far as she could tell. And the difference between now and being twenty was she was never sure, not from one moment to the next. Next step Canonbury. Next stop menopause and no more denim. Or was it? Blind worms churning mud through their bodies is a better metaphor for what happens than road not taken or branches unsprouted. But no metaphor will cover it really. It's hopeless.

—p.7 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

[...] Probably her husband had his own dull map of roads not traveled. You grow conventional in middle life. Choices made over time present themselves as branches running off the solid oaks that line the overground route to Kensal Rise. You grow gray, and thick in the hips. Yet, on happier days, she saw the same small, high breasts, the same powerful long legs, the familiar and delicious brown animal looking back at her, almost never ill and very strong. How much of this was reality? How much delusion? This was the question of the age, as far as she could tell. And the difference between now and being twenty was she was never sure, not from one moment to the next. Next step Canonbury. Next stop menopause and no more denim. Or was it? Blind worms churning mud through their bodies is a better metaphor for what happens than road not taken or branches unsprouted. But no metaphor will cover it really. It's hopeless.

—p.7 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago
17

"We live in love."

But it was ridiculous that they were in love! They were nineteen! What were they gong to do: just stay in love all through college and perhaps even beyond, two people who had grown up practically right next door to each other? Just stick it out all the way to the end, a la some pre-Freudian Victorian novel? Thus missing a myriad of sexual and psychological experiences along the way? That was literally crazy!

"It's not literally crazy. Mum's been with Dad since they were fifteen. She had me when she was seventeen!"

"Darryl, your mum stacks shelves at Iceland."

But how had she let that come out of her mouth!

—p.17 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

"We live in love."

But it was ridiculous that they were in love! They were nineteen! What were they gong to do: just stay in love all through college and perhaps even beyond, two people who had grown up practically right next door to each other? Just stick it out all the way to the end, a la some pre-Freudian Victorian novel? Thus missing a myriad of sexual and psychological experiences along the way? That was literally crazy!

"It's not literally crazy. Mum's been with Dad since they were fifteen. She had me when she was seventeen!"

"Darryl, your mum stacks shelves at Iceland."

But how had she let that come out of her mouth!

—p.17 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago
21

From above came the noise of the workers laboring, hammering and nailing, creating surplus value for bloated plutocrats, while down below two anarchists [...]

[thought: joke about searching for something with better exchange value, not use value, after someone has finally read marx]

—p.21 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago

From above came the noise of the workers laboring, hammering and nailing, creating surplus value for bloated plutocrats, while down below two anarchists [...]

[thought: joke about searching for something with better exchange value, not use value, after someone has finally read marx]

—p.21 by Zadie Smith 4 years, 3 months ago