A Can of Salmon in the Hollywood Hills

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“Someone watching him go about his little cottage might have thought him sleepwalking or partially blind. His hands seemed to have a life and a will of their own. It was they who pulled the sheets tight and shaped the pillows.

“One day, while opening a can of salmon for lunch, his thumb received a nasty cut. Although the wound must have hurt, the clam, slightly querulous expression he usually wore did not change. The wounded hand writhed about on the kitchen table until it was carried to the sink by its mate and bathed tenderly in hot water.”

“The Day of the Locust”, Nathanael West


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About Rodger Jacobs


2 responses to “A Can of Salmon in the Hollywood Hills”

  1. John Shannon says :

    If you’re interested in hands, Sherwood Anderson’s story about Wings Biddlebaum (“Hands,” I think it’s called) in Winesburg, Ohio, is pretty good.

    • Rodger Jacobs says :

      Indeed, love that story and West clearly drew inspiration for it in his portraits of Homer’s hands that are sprinkled throughout the DOTL narrative, just as the painter Tod Hackett in the book draws inspiration from Goya.

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