Friday, February 03, 2012

Anthropoid Dogs Walking Erect

Rereading Charles Portis's NORWOOD for a class I am teaching. Like all great books, it has an owl in it. "That night a suicidal owl flew into the windshield but didn't break it and later they saw a house or a barn burning out in an open field." I guess you have been worried because it has been a long stretch since I have read a book with an owl in it. But now NORWOOD by Charles Portis can go on our big long interesting list of books with owls in them ("click" here to review). Here are Norwood and his betrothed enjoying some comic books: "She read about a miser duck called Uncle Scrooge, and his young duck nephews, whose adventures took place in a city where all the bystanders, the figures on the street, were anthropoid dogs walking erect. Norwood read about Superman and the double-breasted-suited Metropolis underworld. It was a kryptonite story and not a bad one." When he finishes his comic book, Norwood reflects on Superman's effectiveness in different media: "It looks all right when you're reading it. I didn't believe none of it on television." Rita Lee replies, "You're not supposed to really believe it." And Norwood says, "You're supposed to believe it a little bit. I didn't believe none of it." There's something great on every page! For instance, the sound of whippoorwills spurs these thoughts: "How did two certain birds get together? And then what?"