In the summer I love to read outside. And I’m lucky enough to have some down time right now. Sitting on the porch, absorbed but also aware of the birds, breeze, and unfortunate smell of smoke from fires burning in the distance. It all adds to the experience of a fabulous story. I spent the better part of the day yesterday reading The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. A magnificent novel set in 1977. A young woman from Reno makes her way to NYC. She is as young, malleable, and unsolidified as the cities she finds herself living in and visiting. New York, Milan, and Rome all on the verge of change mired in darkness looking for a light. Reno is drawn in by all that she sees and doesn’t want to acknowledge she knows. Turning a youthful blind eye to the adults she places her love and trust in, only to realize the truth will never be withheld. Here is Reno’s boyfriend, Sandro’s, musing on the soul . .
People weighted themselves, Sandro knew, if not with stones. A movie, a lover. Friends. Complicities. A certain amount of success. These were decent crutches, provided they could be changed up often enough. And art, of course, making art was really about the problem of the soul, losing it. It was a technique for inhabiting the world. For not dissolving into it.