First Paragraphs I Love: Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson

“Here, and also south of us, the beaches have a yellow tint, but along the Keys of Florida the sand is like shattered ivory.   In the shallows the white of it turns the water such an ideal sea-blue that looking at it you think you must be dead, and the rice paddies, in some seasons, are profoundly emerald.   The people who inhabit these colors, thanked be the compassion and mercy of Allah, having nothing much to trouble them.   It’s true that starting a little ways north of them the bodies still just go on and on, and the Lord, as foretold, has crushed the mountains; but it’s hard to imagine that such things ever went on in the same universe that holds up the Keys of Florida.   It strains all belief to think that these are the places the god Quetzalcoatl, the god Bob Marley, the god Jesus, promised to come back to and build their kingdoms.   On island after island, except for the fields of cane popping in the wind, everything seems to be asleep.”

If you haven’t read Denis Johnson, you should.  This is a good place to start.  You can purchase Fiskadoro at from Amazon or Powell’s Books.

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