The notebook

It was one of about a dozen notebooks Whitney brought with her when she moved in with Paolo, all of them of the very same make, thick, black-covered things, perhaps two hundred octavo-sized pages in length. Thumbing through the pages he saw it was a great catchall: images clipped from fashion magazines; short quotations from other writers; quick notations, like “Woman at Il Forno with the long coat of faux leopard”; small patches of richly colored fabric the size of playing cards; and what looked like diary entries, referring as they did to things she had talked about, personal things, like strains with friends or remembrances. 

Something told him to begin at the end, but the last dozen or so pages were blank. When he thumbed to the place where she last left off, it was the same melange of material—notes, clippings, the odd photo. He had an instant of thinking he should put the journal aside, then he opened to an entry that stood out for its length. Flipping back and forth he saw it filled a page and a half, beginning just below an old photo of the child Whitney in a jumper of ghastly plaid and glossy Mary Janes. 

She had very clear handwriting, made with a fine pointed pen and forward-slanting like Palmer script but of a font more like close-kerned print than cursive. The taller letters were always elongated. 

The Italian Novel

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