“It’s not even accurate to call it the past, for the events related in these pages didn’t occur in the past. The details that have been preserved are already abundant. Sealed in floating bottles, they will hopefully reach the new universe and endure there.”
“And he remembered as one remembers a dream long past how O-lan rested from her work a little while and fed the child richly and the white rich milk ran out of her breast and spilled upon the ground. And this seemed too long past ever to have been.”
“But lately, don’t ask why, I’ve no taste for comedy, no inclination to exercise, even if I had the space, no delight in fire or earth, in words that once revealed a golden world of majestical stars, the beauty of poetic apprehension, the infinite joy of reason.”
“Suppose a vast number of civilizations are distributed throughout the universe, on the order of the number of detectable stars. Lots and lots of them. Those civilizations make up the body of a cosmic society. Cosmic sociology is the study of the nature of this super-society” (p 12).
“There was nothing to do about his father, and he had thought it all through many times. The handsome job the undertaker had done on his father’s face had not blurred in his mind and all the rest of it was quite clear, including the responsibilities.”
The collection starts with a bang with ”The Garden Party” (1922) by Katherine Mansfield and then tumbles its way through some well-known stories that are usually read in high school and college. There’s Hemingway’s ”The Three-Day Blow” (1925), E.M. Forster’s ”The Other Side of the Hedge” (1947), Henry James’s ”Brooksmith” (1892), Rudyard Kipling’s ”The Courting of Dinah Shadd” (1899) and Alexander Poushkin’s ”The Shot” (1894) translated by T. Keane.