Sunday, January 3, 2010

Literary fur: excerpt from A Single Man

They are passing the tennis courts at this moment. Only one court is occupied, by two young men playing singles. The sun has come out with sudden fierce heat through the smog-haze, and the two are stripped nearly naked. They have nothing on their bodies but gym shoes and thick sweat socks and knit shorts of the kind cyclists wear, very short and close fitting, moulding themselves to the buttocks and the loins. They are absolutely unaware of the passers-by, isolated in the intenseness of their game. You would think there was no net between them. Their nakedness makes them seem close to each other and directly opposed, body to body, like fighters. If this were a fight though, it would be one-sided, for the boy on the left is much smaller. He is Mexican maybe, black-haired, handsome, catlike, cruel, compact, lithe, muscular, quick and graceful on his feet. His body is a natural dark gold-brown; there is a fuzz of curly black hair on his chest and belly and thighs. He plays hard and fast, with cruel mastery, baring his white teeth, unsmiling, as he slams back the ball. He is going to win...

Christopher Isherwood, 1964

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