Black Box by Jennifer Egan

By Jennifer Egan

First released within the New Yorker and on-line, through Twitter, by way of @NYerfiction, 2012

'Close your eyes and slowly count number backward from ten.'

America, the close to destiny. a tender secret agent on a venture logs her observations. the result's an extreme mystery, and a minute dissection of the adventure of a lady whose attractiveness is usually her camouflage, for whom keep watch over depends upon submission: a girl whose good fortune - whose lifestyles - relies on being noticeable and never seen.

Originally released on-line through Twitter through @NYerFiction, Jennifer Egan's first new fiction because the extra special good fortune of a trip From the Goon Squad is a taut, compulsive paintings of unrelenting genius.

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Some crumbled to dust as we touched them. But others were of heavier cloth, and they felt soft and new in our fingers. We found a room with walls made of shelves, which held rows of manuscripts, from the floor to the ceiling. Never had we seen such a number of them, nor of such strange shape. They were not soft and rolled, they had hard shells of cloth and leather; and the letters on their pages were so small and so even that we wondered at the men who had such handwriting. We glanced through the pages, and we saw that they were written in our language, but we found many words which we could not understand.

What agony must have been theirs before that which they saw coming and could not stop! Perhaps they cried out in protest and in warning. But men paid no heed to their warning. And they, these few, fought a hopeless battle, and they perished with their banners smeared by their own blood. And they chose to perish, for they knew. To them, I send my salute across the centuries, and my pity. Theirs is the banner in my hand. And I wish I had the power to tell them that the despair of their hearts was not to be final, and their night was not without hope.

And now we look upon the earth and sky. This spread of naked rock and peaks and moonlight is like a world ready to be born, a world that waits. It seems to us it asks a sign from us, a spark, a first commandment. We cannot know what word we are to give, nor what great deed this earth expects to witness. We know it waits. It seems to say it has great gifts to lay before us, but it wishes a greater gift for us. We are to speak. We are to give its goal, its highest meaning to all this glowing space of rock and sky.

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