He watched Broadway float into the curved window and felt as if blocks of time and space had come loose and drifted. The misplaced heartland hotel. The signs for Mita, Midori, Kirin, Magno, Suntory – words that were part of some synthetic mass language, the esperanto of jet lag. And the tower under construction across the street, webbed and draped against the weather, figures moving fleetly past gaps in the orange sheeting. He saw them clearly now, three or four kids playing on the girders, making the building seem a ruin, an abandonment. (p. 23)

People with supermarket carts. When did these things come out of the stores and into the streets? She saw these things everywhere, pushed, dragged, lived in, fought over, unwheeled, bent, rolling haywire, filled with living trivia, the holistic dregs of everything that is correctly put. She talked to the woman in the plastic bag, offering to get a shopping cart for her.
It was a different language completely, unwritable and interior, the rag-speak of shopping carts and plastic bags, the language of soot, and Karen had to listen carefully to the way the woman dragged a line of words out of her throat like hankies tied together and then she tried to go back and reconstruct. (p. 180)


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