"She might very well love him and yet--he shuddered and threw down his drink--be groaning on some leather couch under the weight of Ellis." In the end I appear to have been fortunate in love, but the person who is overly susceptible to such feelings and is not equipped to cope in some productive way with potential catastrophes is going to invariably lead a limited and second rate life compared to those peers who attain a degree of mastery over the romantic prerogative.
"She had embarked on a voyage which might end years from now in some horrible villa, near a blue sea, with some unspeaking, unspeakably phallic, Turk or Spaniard or Jew or Greek or Arabian. Yet, she did not want it to stop. " Probably because it wouldn't really be all that bad. The Mediterrean villa as a repository of sexual decadence so pronounced, so fantastic and so masterful as not to be contended against by anybody wandering in out of ordinary life was a popular theme at this time, the prospect of being caught up in which obviously titillated and terrified in equal measure the more rulebound, conventional set in the era.
"...the three youths were giggling and covertly watching the dark man and the pasty girl; and if this evening ended as all the others had, they would presently drive off to some haven and watch each other masturbate." This is not my usual fare.
There is a discussion about Franco at one point. The Fascist era in Spain has always rather fascinated me because it artificially preserved a kind of society and way of life for quite a long time, well past the point of exhaustion and dead end. Obviously the old Iron Curtain countries offered a similar fascination, though Spain is unique in the ideas of sort of endless centuries of priests and haying carts and bulls and afternoon bottles of wine under the shade of a tree that play on the imagination, all of which has just abruptly come to an end within my actual living memory. I am sure what I imagine here is not true either, and of course the governments of all stagnant countries are by necessity repressive and horrible, but people are fascinated by these kinds of places where the world or 40 or 50 or more years past is as preserved in amber, as they are with Cuba and North Korea today, because sure as heck nothing remotely like this phenomenom ever happens here.
"They were both, as it were, racing before a storm, struggling to 'make it' before they were sucked into that quicksand, which they saw all around them, of an aimless, defeated, and defensive bohemia." One thing about this book that is somewhat interesting is that it is clear Baldwin reached the point in his life, around his mid-30s, which most non-geniuses usually do in spite of themselves, where he realized that the people who actually made everything happen in New York, and the world in general, were the ones who primarily cared about and directed all their waking efforts towards making money in a big way, and that 99% of the people who thought themselves writers and artists were not only kidding themselves as to their having any value in society, but were wholly dependent on these awful capitalists even to support their alcoholic poverty in some semblance of a style.
Americans, white ones anyway, are globally renowned for their unique ignorance of suffering, which in the case of ordinary people especially is considered to be wholly attributable to luck, real suffering being something one cannot choose to forego, but which engulfs one so as to mark and inform every facet of his character. The hour when this imbalance is corrected, being perceived as necessary to the progression of history, has been often predicted, though to no end as yet.
"'A woman who admires you will open her legs for you at once, she'll give you anything she's got.'" I don't know why I am writing this down. A part of me always wanted to talk like this, I guess. It's a bit crass, perhaps, but in the real world most people who have sex a lot really are quite crass, the girls too.
In Book III, Chap. 1, the male gay sex kicks in in earnest. I'm desperate to be accepted as a friend among the most civilized people, so I'll just say I really enjoyed reading about it.