Yet again Kim Stanley Robinson has written prose that cuts me to the quick, that sounds so real and so intimate, that feels like my own thoughts, miraculously appearing on the page before me.

“Before long the routines of this life became as if they were the only ones he had ever known. One morning baby-sitting for a little girl who had caught the chicken pox, sitting by her as she lay thoughtlessly in a lukewarm oatmeal bath, stoically flicking the water with her finger and occasionally moaning like a small animal, he felt a sudden gust of happiness sweep through him, simply because he was the old widower of the neighborhood, and people used him as a baby sitter. Old Dragonfish.
…[The people he lived among now were] not the companions of his fate, just people he had fallen in with by accident — nevertheless they were now his community. Maybe this was the way it had always happened, with no fate ever involved; you simply fell in with the people around you, and no matter what else happened in history or the great world, for the individual it was always a matter of local acquaintances — the village, the platoon, the work unit, the monastery, or madressa [school] , the zawiyya [Sufi gathering place], or farm, or apartment block, or ship, or neighborhood—these formed the true circumference of one’s world, some twenty or so speaking parts, as if they were in a play together. And no doubt each cast included the same character types, as in Noh drama or a puppet play. And now he was the old widower, the baby-sitter, the broken-down old bureaucrat-poet, drinking wine by the stream and singing nostalgically at the moon, scratching with a hoe in his unproductive garden. It made him smile; it gave him pleasure. He liked having neighbors, and he liked his role among them.”

—- The Years of Rice and Salt”, Kim Stanley Robinson ——