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Tagged: Bookworm Awards meme

Rotus at I’ll Never Forget the Day I Read a Book tagged me with the Bookworm Awards meme. His rational? He was targeting people “who regularly read ACTUAL BOOKS and sometimes review them.” As I do resemble that remark, I guess I’m it. The rules:

Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.

Technically, the book closest to me is the telephone book but I’m guessing that isn’t the type of book that is appropriate for the meme. And while my bookshelves are behind me, the closest one in the “to shelve or donate?” container is The Taker And Other Stories, a collection of short stories by Brazilian writer Rubem Fonseca.

The fifth sentence on page 56 is from the story, “The Enemy,” one of the longer stories in the book. It picks up in the midst of a conversation between the narrator and a stranger at a party the narrator believes is at a house owned by Mangonga, who he went to school with 20 years before:

“What do you mean he’s not called Mangonga?”

The conversation continues for the balance of the page, but the next several sentences are:

“He invited me, opened the door for me, a guy with a big belly”

“Big belly? Almost everybody here has a big belly, even the women.”

“Mangonga, the owner of the house,” I insisted.

“The owner of the house is that guy over there. He’s got a thing for the national anthem; he gets turned on by listening to it, can’t go to bed with a woman unless he hears the national anthem. Weird guy.”

The passage is just slightly indicative of Fonseca’s work. His stories and characters are a little (or more) off center and focus on the dark side of life in Rio de Janeiro. In fact, the back cover blurb described the stories as portray lives and situations “where only overwhelming force can maintain order, and violence and deception are essential tools of survival” is highly accurate.


I am a man made of failure.

“The Enemy,” Rubem Fonseca, The Taker And Other Stories

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