daily preciousness

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

viral passage



This passage from House of Spirits caught me unawares. It is so savagely beautiful. Horrific and evocative!

That was the year of the exanthemic typhus. It began like any other calamity that strikes the poor but quickly took on the characteristics of a divine punishment. It was born in the poorest quarters of the city, because of the harsh winter, the malnutrition, and the dity water, and it joined forces with the unemployment and spread in every direction. The hospitals could not cope. The sick wandered throught the streets with missing eyes, picking the lice from their hair and throwing them at the healthy. The plague spread to every house, infecting schools and factories, so that no one felt secure. Everyone lived in fear, inspecting themsevles for the first signs of the dread disease. Those who caught it began to shake with an icy cold that loged in their bones, and gradually fell prey to a deep lethergy. They were left gazing like madmen to be eaten alive by their own fever, filling with sores, shitting blood, hallucinating scenes of fire and drowining, falling to the groundwith bones like wool, legs like rags, and a taste of bile in their mouths. Their bodies became raw meat, with a red pustule next to a blue one next to a yellow one next to a black one, as they vomited up thie own intestines and cried out to God for mercy, begging Him to let them die for they could not go on, their heads were bursting and their souls escaping in in a blur of shit and fear.


- I. Allende, The House of Spirits

<Postscript: This entry now has an audio version for your enjoyment and infotainment.

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