Tuesday, July 6, 2010
From a list of reasons why 93-year-old Mr. Flood is "irreconcilable" to death:
"Third, he is a diet theorist -- he calls himself a seafoodetarian -- and feels obliged to reach a spectacular age in order to prove his theory. He is convinced that the eating of meat and vegetables shortens life and he maintains that the only sensible food for man, particularly for a man who wants to hit a hundred and fifteen, is fish."
-- From "Old Mr. Flood" in Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell.
I was so pleased that my copy of Up in the Old Hotel turned up in the lost-and-found at the gym that I have set aside Small Island and gone back to Mitchell's essays and short stories about New York.
This teaser is from one of three three stories about the fictional Mr. Flood, a composite character of Mitchell's invention based on the curmudgeons who liked to hang around the Fulton Fish Market. Like the essays in the book, the Mr. Flood stories are rich, colorful accounts of New York life in the 1930s and '40s -- mostly centered around the Fulton Market and the people involved in the fishing trade.
This is now one of my all-time favorite books. I wish I had read it years and years ago so I could be re-reading it now.
Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.