Memoir From Antproof Case
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As he reminisces and writes, placing the pages carefully in his antproof case, we learn that he was a World War II ace who was shot down twice, an investment banker who met with popes and presidents, and a man who was never not in love. He was the thief of the century, a murderer, and a protector of the innocent. And all his life he waged a valiant, losing, one-man battle against the world’s most insidious enslaver: coffee.
Mark Helprin combines adventure, satire, flights of transcendence, and high comedy in this "memoir" of a man whose life reads like the song of the twentieth century.
after it is made. But many a way exists in which to go around a rhinoceros, which leads me to the far more practical subject of why I have written this, for whom, and where it is to be kept. The most important reason will come clear to you as you read, but I have also written in protest of the sudden shock I received when I was born, a shock that would be repeated many times during my life—as I was hurled thrice from my physical position in heaven, made to discover that my first wife drank
question was easily answered, but the next, which made Smedjebakken hesitate, was, "Are you a criminal?" "This country, the name of which I cannot divulge," Smedjebakken told me, "is a land of moralphilosophes. Schoolchildren there learn categories of morality the way schoolchildren in America learn about Indians. So I said to him, 'Morally, I am not a criminal, for I have appropriated a vast amount of wealth from an immoraliste. I am as innocent as Saint Francis of Assisi.' "'Saint Francis of
spent many hours on the small beaches of Croton Bay. If I wanted to fish in the channel, where the water was deeper and the fish had their main highway, I walked five miles to the tip of Teller's Point. In those days, the world was my fish store, and I brought home bass, shad, salmon, crab, oysters, and clams. From freshwater ponds I took catfish, perch, sunnies, and crawfish. And there were seasons for blackberries, raspberries, wild strawberries, and mulberries. I wouldn't touch a mushroom, and
weeping women, greyhounds, accountants, bored children, loving apes, deathly ill Sicilians—and we saw it roll past. In this universe you could tell the time from the way salamis pointed, and sex was accomplished completely out of order, while the nude was still arrestingly beautiful, fully lit, at five or fifty miles per hour. Though I never could have known the exquisite 5 mph nude, and now she's either dead or a hundred and one, I saw her in all her grace for ten seconds, and have adored her
wasn't. She shot through the gate like an acrobat, went to the curb, and seized a floating taxi with the authority of General MacArthur. Then she was gone, and I was left to survey the house. At the time, it simply took my breath away. Later, I would learn the details. It had five stories and a basement, and totaled 48,000 square feet, not including garages, greenhouse, swimming pavilion, and squash court. On the first floor was a ballroom of immense size with an eighteen-foot ceiling. The