"My mother liked seeing me read a book, and as she sat quietly in the other room, sewing or hemming a pair of pants for my father, she’d often arise to regard me with a contemplation that would turn into an endearing gaze. It comforted her to know I was studious, to see with her own eyes that her sacrifice, and that of my father’s, was bearing unspoiled fruit, and that languishing in their respective jobs—he a factory worker and she a hard assembly-line worker—proved profitable."