• The silence. End of all poetry, all romances. Earlier, frightened, you began to have some intimation of it: so many pages had been turned, the book was so heavy in one hand, so light in the other, thinning toward the end. Still, you consoled yourself. You were not quite at the end of the story, at that terrible flyleaf, blank like a shuttered window: there were still a few pages under your thumb, still to be sought and treasured. Oh, was it possible to read more slowly? - No. The end approached, inexorable, at the same measured pace. The last page, the last of the shining words! And there - the end of the books. The hard cover which, when you turn it, gives you only this leather stamped with old roses and shields.Then the silence comes, like the absence of sound at the end of the world. You look up. It's a room in an old house. Or perhaps it's a seat in a garden, or even a square; perhaps you've been reading outside and you suddenly see the carriages going by. Life comes back, the shadows of leaves. Someone comes to ask what you will have for dinner, or two small boys run past you, wildly shouting; or else it's merely a breeze blowing a curtain, the white unfurling into a room, brushing the papers on a desk. It is the sound of the world. But to you, the reader, it is only a silence, untenanted and desolate

    Sofia Samatar
  • These were the rains that drove people close to the walls, under the balconies, or sent them dashing madly through the squares, and drenched the fluttering ribbons and bright trappings of the horses so that their flanks were streaked with delicate watercolors. The storms washed the streets so that little streams of brown water went roaring along the gutters toward the sea, and thundered on the roofs of the cafés where people were crowded together laughing in the steam and half darkness. I loved those rains; they were of the sort that is welcomed by everyone, preceded by hot, oppressive hours of stillness; they came the way storms come in the islands but did not last as long, and often the sun came out when they had passed. I was happy whenever the rain caught me walking about in the streets, for then I would rush into the nearest café, along with all the others who were escaping from the weather, all of us crushing laughing through the doors. The rain allowed me to go anywhere, to form quick, casual friendships, forced to share one of the overcrowded tables, among the beaming waiters who pushed good-naturedly through the throngs carrying cups of steaming apple cider

    Sofia Samatar
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