“I won a scholarship when I was ten. I was a clever kid. A good Hebrew scholar too. So I went to a high school. The family intellectual. They used to read my essays out to the other boys. Ten out of ten for composition. The kicks I got from putting words on paper! And books, I gobbled books like peanuts. How I didn’t wear my eyes away I don’t know. But a lowlife is a lowlife. I was losing money on the cards at fourteen, and going with my pals to shilling whores. Money I needed, for cigarettes and women and pride in my pocket. I left school when I was fifteen and got a job in tailoring.”
Black Spring Press, 2010 (publicado originalmente en 1963)
“He hurried out down the steps, and into City Road, walking towards Old Street. He walked faster and faster like a fugitive. He was running away from the thought of his own cowardice and he raged against it. He made excuses; he had been caught unprepared, he had not thought quickly enough. The rage still choked. Of course he was a coward, otherwise he would go back now. But he could not go back to stand in that corridor while a crowd of women swept round him. He could not risk the peeps and the whispers and the giggles. Suppose she came out arm-in-arm with her friends and they giggled to her about him? She would be ashamed or would even laugh at him.
Rage became shame and shame became a greater rage, sometimes against the cause of it all, the girl. He was in Commercial Street and he turned left into the maze of dirty alleys that led to Brick Lane and Rabbit Marsh. Light and discordant song came from the pubs. Outside the doors clusters of children waited in silence for their parents; pallid, ragged creatures.”
Five Leaves Publications, 2019 (publicado originalmente en 1969)