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Born Burning
by Thomas Sullivan


p.33 But the phone calls were worse. No windows to stare out, no plants to pretend to fuss with, just ungodly silences while each clung self-consciously to a telephone receiver, like a handshake suspended, like an idiot grin through soundproof glass.

p.98 "just that note of oscillation which police everywhere recognize as barely controlled hysteria"

p.143 She could not have dealt with an empty house, an adultless home after the accident. She would never have been able to hang tough at the plant without a sense of balance in her private life. She would have shrunk. She would have warped Joey and shrunk him with her. Poof! One day they would have evaporated into thin air, a couple of microbes frightened out of existence. Lucien had given her perspective. Just by being there, he had done that. He was a reason for her to maintain the motions of an ordered life. You had to wash the dishes and vacuum and brush your teeth. and even after he had stopped being a stranger, there was a sense of routine, of duty owed to civilization, and a world of reading newspapers and taking out the trash on Thursdays.

p.296 "It's as if he had a car accident or something," she said about Joey.
   Lucien blew on his coffee. A month ago, his hand would have been across the table on hers, the commanding glitter his eyes softening, music in his throat. "A psychiatrist is like getting hit by a car," he said. "Every week, same car."

p.298 When your border with the world is hemmed with lies, you are in trouble.