By Edmund White
Combining glittering wit, an environment dense in social paranoia, and a wide ranging attractiveness and precision of language, White's first novel indicates a hilarious apotheosis of the comedy of manners. For, at the privileged island neighborhood the place Forgetting Elena occurs, manners are every thing. Or so it kind of feels to White's excruciatingly self-conscious younger narrator who desperately desires to be approved during this international the place every thing from one's rest room conduct to the composition of "spontaneous" poetry is topic to inflexible conventions.
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Additional resources for Forgetting Elena: A Novel
The donkeys are turned out to graze on meager grass and scattered sage. We are now at 11,000 feet, the sun warm, the setting peaceful. I feel a sense of exhilaration at being on foot and on the move. I can imagine us as a small trading caravan of a century ago, a thought of quiet atavistic pleasure. Aziz is an experienced cook—he worked in a restaurant—and serves small, round loaves of fresh bread and fried eggs for breakfast. Our morning starts are slow because it takes two to three hours to load the pack animals.
On our right, to the north, are the snow peaks of the Kunlun. On his 1897 map, Deasy labeled the basin “barren and waterless,” and indeed we walk for hours over a barren gravel outwash. However, the lake has a margin with grass, a procumbent Myricaria shrub with tiny pink blossoms, and a ﬁne spring with clear, sweet water. A camel and a donkey skeleton here are reminders that our pack animals need ample food; we have some hay as supplement but far too little, given the heavy burden the animals carry each day.
Just north of Tuotuohe two large black mastiffs and a half-grown pup sit by four chiru they have killed. Ma shoots the two adults but permits the pup to ﬂee toward some nearby huts. I understand the killing lust of these dogs when prey, usually so ﬂeet and shy, is suddenly defenseless. In general, carnivores will kill far more than they can eat when given an opportunity, as I have observed in the Serengeti with spotted hyenas and lions. Wolves, lynx, and snow leopards enter corrals where they may kill a dozen or more domestic sheep where one would do.