Book Passage of the Week – from Manhattan Transfer, by John Dos Passos

So much good in Manhattan Transfer, I’ll just stick with what stood out to me the most:

A nickel before midnight buys tomorrow . . . holdup headlines, a cup of coffee in the automat, a ride to Woodlawn, Fort Lee, Flatbush . . . A nickel in the slot buys chewing gum. Somebody Loves Me, Baby Divine, You’re in Kentucky Juss Shu’ As You’re Born . . . bruised notes of foxtrots go limping out of doors, blues, waltzes (We’d Danced the Whole Night Through) trail gyrating tinsel memories . . . On Sixth Avenue on Fourteenth there are still flyspecked stereopticons where for a nickel you can peep at yellowed yesterdays. Beside the peppering shooting gallery you stoop into the flicker A Hot Time, The Bachelor’s Surprise, The Stolen Garter . . . wastebasket of tornup daydreams . . . A nickel before midnight buys yesterday.

Take a break from this week’s fashionable outrage or regiurgitated opinions on gun control, and check out this portrait of early twentieth century New York City. Highly recommended, and I’d bet a toenail that Cormac McCarthy read Manhattan Transfer at some point in his life prior to writing Suttree.


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