It’s all very well to look at a thing close

up; to look at it dead straight between the eyes;

an unflinching and honest stare, a meticulous inspection that would

go beyond the heart of the matter to its marrow,

beyond the marrow to the root — but the question is

how far back do you want?  How far will do?

The old American question: what do you want — blood?  Most

probably more than blood is required: whispered asides; lost conversations;

letters and photographs; old library books, yellowing paper bearing the

imprint of forgotten signatures.  Back, back, back to the beginning.

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Paraphrases from the novel White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

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