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Print Stories September 19, 1997
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William Maxwell
All the Days and Nights
1995

"The sun rose somewhere in the middle of Queens, the exact moment of its appearance shrouded in uncertainty because of a cloud bank. The lights on the bridges went off, and so did the red light in the lantern of the lighthouse at the north end of Welfare Island. Seagulls settled on the water. A newspaper truck went from building to building dropping off heavy bundles of, for the most part, bads news, which little boys carried inside on their shoulders. Doormen smoking a pipe and dressed for a walk in the country came to work after a long subway ride and disappeared into the service entrances. When they reappeared, by way of the front elevator, they had put on with their uniforms a false amiability and were prepared for eight solid hours to make conversation about the weather. With the morning sun on them, the apartment buildings far to the west, on Lexington Avenue, looked like an orange mesa. The pigeons made bubbling noises in their throats as they strutted on windowsills high above the street."

-- from "Over by the River"

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