Sunday, 24 April 2016

Beautiful Collapse

At first we don’t see it. Then we do: it is Roe, he is a bore. This is what strikes us most, above everything else, above even…but we will come to that… Above all other things the hero of this book is an exceedingly boring chap.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

No No Mr Jones

You could work, you could say something, you could see where to climb, to fix what you said, you could see a clear flight of steps. You worked from bottom upwards, but suddenly this staircase was spiral, it had no end. You worked on, somewhere there was an end to these stairs, somewhere you could stand. Silence was long, had a leaden weight, so that you could feel this as you worked, from bottom upwards, you knew there was somebody about, someone in the forest of rounding stairs, someone who would watch. You would work on, and suddenly you came on him, he spoke, and you laughed, silence was broken, you had met one who understood your language.

A tour de force about a night in the Blitz is also an allegory about the artist in society; and we, the other residents in this boarding house, who watch Clem and Lena carry a painting up and down the stairs, are more likely to belittle than to understand him; what he does too strange, so bizarre, too eccentric to be easily understood.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Soft Power

Theodor Fontane tells it straight: Sidonie von Grasenabb is a “43 year old maid”, who likes to attack society for its immorality, and is particularly scornful of the young. 

Here she is different. Sidonie von Grasenabb is an attractive woman who living comfortably with her husband appears to enjoy extra-marital affairs - with both sexes.

Rainer: what are you doing?