1. Notice – The author of this work is solely responsible, both in life and in death, for the  ideas and opinions contained herein, and expressly relieves his publisher, estate, translator, and literary agent of any liability that might arise out of the publication of this volume. (p.ix)

2. To the Judge – Whoa, girl, just hold it right there. Before you start going through these pages looking for things to have me thrown in jail for, I want you to try to remember that you’re reading a work of fiction here, so the characters in it are made up – they’re concoctions, denizens of the world of imagination (literary figures, parodies, metaphors – you know), not real-life people. And another thing, my dear, while we’re at it – I wrote this novel in 1990 and set it in 1999. I mean think about it – how fair would it be to haul me into court for a bunch of fictitious stuff that when it was written down hadn’t even happened yet? (p.xi)

3. ”In Communism and in Capitalism, they kick you in the ass,” he said. ”But the difference is, under Communism, you have to smile and say, Thank you; whereas under Capitalism, at least you can scream.” (p.xvii)

4. Lord, he said, tell me – where can I find a real butt-stuffer that I can screw? Nowhere, replied the Lord, turning the other ass-cheek. That’s what I figured, (…) (p.64)

5. I will paint Reinaldo’s desolation at not being able to write the novel that justifies the life that’s about to be taken from him. (p.74)

6. You will see the moon set in a urinal, (…) (p.76)

7. What book, opened at random, will restore my faith in words. (p.83)

8. Anyway, at this point, my dear, people don’t read anything anymore. And if they do, they misread it. (p.84)

9. They all seem to think their shit smells like ice cream, (…) (p.85)

10. As for the French – most of them have no chin and a turned-up nose that looks like they were smelling a rat held up about twelve feet off the floor. By the expression on their faces, the rat’s not particularly fresh, either. Of course, the whole city smells like cunt. (p.86)

11. (…) wrapped themselves in a mantle of morality. (p.96)

12. And then, at last, they saw the country and the countercountry – because every country, like all things in this world, has its contrary, and that contrary-to-a-country is its countercountry, the forces of darkness that work to ensure that only superficiality and horror endure, that all things noble, beautiful, brave, and life-enhancing – the true country – disappear. The countercountry (the poem somehow reveals this) is monolithic, rigid vulgarity; the country is all that is diverse, luminous, mysterious – and festive. And this revelation, more than the images of all the beautiful things that they have seen, invested the listeners with an identity and faith. And they realized that they were not alone, because beyond all the horror – including that horror that they themselves exuded – there existed the sheltering presence of a tradition formed of beauty and rebelliousness: a true country. (p.134)



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