Brooklyn · Literature

From “The Golden Vanity,” by Ben Lerner

“Would you know what he meant if the author said he never really saw her face, that faces were fictions he increasingly could not read, a reductive way of bundling features in the memory, even if that memory was then projected into the present, onto the area between the forehead and chin? He could, of course, enumerate features: gray-blue eyes, what they call a full mouth, thick eyebrows that she was probably careful to have threaded, a small scar high on the left cheek, and so on. And sometimes these features did briefly integrate into a higher-order unity, as letters integrate into words, words into a sentence. But like words dissolving into sentences, sentences into paragraphs and plots, combining these elements into a face required forgetting them, letting them de-materialize into an effect, and that somehow never happened for long with Hannah, whom he was now beside.”

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