The Lime Twig: A Novel (New Directions Paperbook)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
An English horse race, the Golden Bowl at Aldington, provides the background for John Hawkes' exciting novel, The Lime Twig, which tells of an ingenious plot to steal and race a horse under a false name.
But it would be unfair to the reader to reveal what happens when a gang of professional crooks gets wind of the scheme and moves to muscle in on this bettors' dream of a long-odds situation. Worked out with all the meticulous detail, terror, and suspense of a nightmare, the tale is, on one level, comparable to a Graham Greene thriller; on another, it explores a group of people, their relationships fears, and loves. For as Leslie A. Fiedler says in his introduction, "John Hawkes.. . makes terror rather than love the center of his work, knowing all the while, of course, that there can be no terror without the hope for love and love's defeat . . . ."
Sparrow should rise, muttering, “Shivers and shakes,” and proceed with his drugged and jittery step to a brief meal or to the job. “This ought to do it,” he said, and leaned forward, pinched as much of the flesh on Sparrow’s arm as he could into a chilly blister. Then he punctured it, slid the needle beneath Sparrow’s skin, gently pushed down the plunger. For a moment he could see the fluid lying like a pea just under the skin, then suddenly it dropped into a duct or into the mouth of a vein and
teatime but it was dusk, fast coming on to nightfall when there’s a fluttering in steeples and the hedgerow turns lavender, when lamps are lit on ancient taxis and the men are parading slowly in the yards of jails. Castles, cottages and jails, a country preparing for night, and time to set out the shabbiness for the day to come, time for a drink. Sparrow felt the mood: “Give us another liter of that Itie stuff,” he said. The waiter filled their glasses and Larry heaped the plates with second
alleys off Pinky Road I remember a little boy who wore black stockings, a shirt ripped off the shoulder, a French sailor’s hat with a red pompom. The whipping marks were always fresh on his legs and one cheekbone was blue. A flying goose darkened the mornings in that alley off Pinky Road, the tar buildings were slick with gray goose slime. After the old men and apprentices had left for the high bridges and little shops the place was empty and wet and dead as a lonely dockyard. Then behind the
other small wedge-shaped hand was thrust between the mattress and her breast. Her lips were against the child’s eyes and she could taste them. Somewhere she was losing blood, but there was no longer any sobbing or screaming. Only the melting dream, the feel of a dangling hairpin and at the foot of the empty bed next her own the dark-blue shade of one of Monica’s sandals. “Ducky,” whispering against the eyes, “feeling a little better? There’s a girl.” In the silence, glancing away from the face,
suddenly he veered round the man rising up between the rose bushes with a pistol. He saw the gun-hand, the silencer on the barrel like a medicine bottle, the quickness of Sparrow’s waist-high aim, and then felt both shots approaching, overtaking him, going wild. And he reached the third and final fence, crawled through. The green, the suspended time was gone. The child pounded on his heart with anonymous rhythm and he found that after all he had been fast enough. There were several seconds in