Ofelia Hunt is the author of My Eventual Bloodless Coup (Bear Parade). She lives in Portland, Oregon. This is her first novel.
"This book would like to give you an ice cream, but you will have to get in the van."
"The ironic is a mere ancient whisper in this torqued narrative: its odd violence feels true. Today & Tomorrow crashes through the windows of strip malls and paints the hypertrophic aisles with bristly-creepy hilarity."
"Ofelia Hunt is the balladeer of the doe-eyed detrivores of over-stimulation. Within Today & Tomorrow, readers find the fried and the frayed nerves in the youth of the Hyperworld. All will be well, America, as long as the rims keep spinning and Hunt keeps writing."
I tried writing about why I liked Today & Tomorrow and began to feel, to some degree, like I was writing something that, if I continued working on it until I felt completely satisfied, would eventually be either Today & Tomorrow verbatim or another novel “inspired” by Today & Tomorrow. Instead I made a gif that tries to convey how Today & Tomorrow influences me—increasingly, with each sentence of it that I read or reread—to think and feel about things. The gif would be more accurate if it seemed brighter, cleaner, more interesting, more “modern,” more consistent in style/presentation and if it were in a resolution that seemed higher than “real life,” I feel.
Here are some parts of Today & Tomorrow I especially liked:
Parking-lots and driveways are theoretically the same thing. Could one transport you to the other? (page 43)
Aaron falls heavily onto the wide sofa. His torso falls at a different speed than his arms, his head, and each part of Aaron’s falling at different speeds. The sofa slides a little and hits the wall. Aaron’s narrow fatless head flops over the sofa-top and his wide fat body sinks into the sofa until the sofa springs back and holds Aaron’s body in place. (52)
“It’s like this. Everything that’s alive dies and so it’s no big deal to kill a thing because it’s natural. People don’t kill things directly and so think killing’s evil. It’s not. Every person should kill something—start in elementary school. If I were President, I’d mandate that each kindergartner slaughter a live chicken the first day of school, then every year thereafter, first day of school, students would slaughter a larger animal [...].” (80)
We were sitting in Grandfather’s Cadillac. There was sun. I was small and my toes were small and I watched my toes and wiggled my toes and felt the smallness of them. They seemed like tiny independent ants, beetles maybe. With the right pressure, would my toes pop? (187)
If I designed my own people, I’d make all human-angles sharp, knife-like—chins, elbows, knees, noses, fingers, all would end in points. People would embrace one another carefully, at substantial risk to their health and well-being. (191)
There are one-million Wal-Marts. Which one could he mean? Everywhere could be Wal-Mart. Are Wal-Mart and Aaron the same? I feel nervous and imagine conveyors of cartons moving slowly into Wal-Mart. Forklifts, each driven by Aaron. (192)
“How would you design people?” I ask Merna. “If you designed people?” Merna doesn’t answer. We’re in the hallway and there are many doors and walls and light-fixtures are thin gray forms that move slowly at the edge of my eyes, but not really the edge because my eyes have no edge. We’re standing in front of a closed door and Merna’s hand’s on the doorknob. “I’d make people sharp,” I say. “I’d make people very small, efficient so that each moment was perfect. Everyone in points. People would be ant-sized, always useful in some way. So small it would be difficult to destroy things, or even to change them. People wouldn’t be people. They’d be something else.” (199)
I watch the boy’s face and it still smiles but the smile has become confused, strange. I want to wear this smile. I move my mouth experimentally but there’s no mirror and I feel nervous and hideous and self-aware. (203)
“[I] lean against the window which is cold and smooth. But not really smooth, I think. There are miniature imperfections, cracks or carters, fissures, and especially faces and skin and glass, and glass’s a liquid and skin, faces are liquids also, everything is liquid, and all liquids move uncontrollably, reshape and reform themselves, and really every molecule or atom or smaller than that even, every electron or gluon, every vibrating string, is alone and random, operating only in its best interest which is unpredictable and everything’s the same and people are just a trillion-billion-billion pieces of something else.” (223)
I try to remember but I don’t know how to remember or even how to try to remember. (227)