All Souls by Christine Schutt

Fiction

By Christine Schutt

In 1997, on the exceptional Siddons institution on Manhattan’s top East aspect, the varsity yr opens with distressing information: Astra Dell is struggling with an extraordinary sickness. Astra’s associates try and reconcile the girl’s agony with their very own fierce longings and impetuous attachments. automobile writes unsparing letters, which the soiled Marlene, in her devotion, then steals. different classmates stick with it: the foolish crew of Suki and Alex pursue Will Bliss whereas the subversive Lisa Van de Ven makes dates with MissWilkes. the realm of non-public colleges and privilege in big apple urban is humorous, poignant, and vicious, and at its center is the troubled Astra Dell, "that faded lady from the senior type, the dancer with all of the hair, the purple hair, knotted or braided or enable to fall to her waist, a fever and she or he consumed."

National booklet Award finalist Christine Schutt has created a wickedly unique story of innocence, bold, and illness.

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No, girl. ' But she don't say it, she just gives me the look of someone who could say it. ' Which isn't such a small point, it's not such a small point that Ray Johnson's daughter is going to college and means to be a teacher. The old man would have been proud. ' She looks at me as if she's ready and waiting if I want to go further down this line of argument, because she knows it aint exactly through my example that she's done what she's done. It's always been a sore point with her, though she doesn't bring it up any more, like she's started to give her own dad up for lost, that I could've found a better use for those brains I'm supposed to have.

Small matter of the fare, Vie,' I say. Vie says, 'Put one of your bets on. ' I look at Vie. It's a straight face. What's he mean: free man? 'That's right,' Vince says. 'You could see a bit of the world. Live a little. ' Vince's head is cocked towards the driving mirror. ' It's like he's a taxi-driver. So where to, guv? 'I aint particular. ' But Vie doesn't say anything. He doesn't say, 'Whenever you're ready, Ray,' then give his little one-finger, undertaker's salute. And I get this sudden picture of me in a car, in a cardboard box, in a big car, with just Vince driving, just Vince in his tie and cuff-links and dark glasses.

I watched Jack clear off the meat trays, picking up the little sprigs of imitation greenery, then wash down the display counter, smoothly, without pausing, like he could do it all with his eyes closed, but carefully and deliberately, taking his time, it being a hot day. And I thought, He's early, and it's a while since I've seen him do that himself, it's usually that lad, the one he said couldn't tell chuck from chine and couldn't keep a price in his head. Unless he's gone and paid him off too.

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