‘a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity’

Santa Monica

None of this was as bad as I’d feared. But what I hadn’t expected to hit even a quarter so hard was what Mya called the mental stuff,” which was unendurable, a sopping black curtain of horror. Mya, Jerome, my fashion intern—most of my drug friends had been at it longer than I had; and when they sat around high and talking about what it was like to quit (which was apparently the only time they could stand to talk about quitting), everyone had warned me repeatedly that the physical symptoms weren’t the rough part, that even with a baby habit like mine the depression would be like “nothing I’d ever dreamed” and I’d smiled politely as I leaned to the mirror and thought: wanna bet?

But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil.

The Goldfinch Ch. 9 Sec. xi, Donna Tartt, 2013

when i quit smoking, i really did feel like this but to a lesser extent. there was the depression, the regression to my adolescent mood swings. when people would ask me how i was doing, i replied with a smile, “i’m too broke to afford the rope to hang myself with, but other than that i’m doing all right.” i still find that greeting to be funny.

i don’t know why it took me this long to read donna tartt’s latest novel, but i’m glad i finally got to it. i loved her first novel the secret history, and for some reason i never read the second novel. but this one has been tons of fun.