Miss Lonelyhearts and Mrs. Shrike
Here in Paris at the foot of Baudelaire's grave, West felt at home. It was the beginning and the end--the end of his childhood and the beginning of his life as a writer.
"He made too perfect a butt for Shrike's jokes. Once he had tried to get fired by recommending suicide in his column. All that Shrike had said was: 'Remember, please, that your job is to increase the circulation of our paper. Suicide, it is reasonable to think, must defeat this purpose.'"
"Like a dead man, only friction could make him warm or violence make him mobile."
"When I was child, I saw my mother die. She had cancer of the breast and the pain was terrible. She died leaning over a table."
"He stopped listening and tried to bring his great understanding heart into action again. Parents are also part of the business of dreams. My father was a Russian prince, my father was a Piute Indian Chief, my father was an Australian sheep baron, my father lost all his money in Wall Street, my father was a portrait painter. People like Mary were unable to do without such tales. They told them because they wanted to talk about something besides clothing or business or the movies, because they wanted to talk about something poetic."
"My mother died of cancer of the breast,' she said in a brave voice, like a girl reciting at a party. 'She died leaning over a table. My father was a portrait painter.'...she began to mumble and repeat herself."