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Richard de Nooy

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BookWalk #3 | Pompidou Posse | Sarah Lotz

“For fuck’s sake, Sage. He’s trying to help us out! Can you at least try for five minutes not to be such a bitch?” (p.20) | British friends Vicki and Sage have yet to agree on a strategy for survival on the streets of Paris.

He was EXCELLENT!! He was wearing dark glasses and was really pretending to be this dead mysterious guy. (p. 58) | Vicki and Sage take turns telling the story. Lovely use of the vernacular “dead”, meaning “very”, rather than “dead”.

“You and Sage,” he begins. “I was wondering. Why is it that you do not wash? Especially down there?” he points towards my crotch. (p.93) | The layers or propriety are swiftly peeled off and lost as the girls spend more time living rough.

As usual, the other nannies are clustered around the jungle gym benches like the cockney vultures in Jungle Book. (p. 118) | Vicki’s brief spell as a nanny only serves as a reminder that there is no easy way back into the secure but boring world of humdrum mediocrity.

Finally, Scotty and Irish run out of steam without bringing a heart-rendingly awful version of Hotel California to its rightful (or wrongful) conclusion. (p.146) | Busking has more drawbacks than begging, partly because beggars are easier to ignore.

I cock my head to one side and make my eyes go all blurry in a vain attempt to make our chalk pavement drawing look better. It doesn’t help. (p. 194) | The two art-school dropouts soon learn the dictum that so many artists have learned before them: begging is more lucrative than art.

The one time my brother and I had picked magic mushrooms from the field at the back of my parents’ house I’d puked all over the dining room carpet. (p. 228) | Because their memories of home are seldom warm enough to seem inviting, the girls assemble a new family who share their desire to forget the past and ignore the future.

Ralphie curled himself into my side and Stefan stroked my back or dozed as I devoured the book of Somerset Maugham short stories I’d unearthed from the box. (p. 257) | Because Vicki manages to remain more receptive to the world and its inhabitants, she finds comfort in the company of beasts and humans and books.

“I thought the Germans were all mad bastard Nazis or something? That guy seemed kosher to me.” (p. 304) | Even on the outer fringes of society, prejudice can be the cement that holds groups together. But a mutual enemy – in this case The Blues, a tramp-chasing police force – can help unite former adversaries.

It was like I knew all about her and could look right inside her even before we’d said a single word to each other. (p. 347) | One doesn’t really know one’s friends until one decides to leave them.

(Sarah Lotz’s Pompidou Posse is published by Penguin.)

Pompidou Posse by Sarah Lotz

 

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