Sunday, October 30, 2005

Women and Volk

While the actual epigram to Europe Central is from Shostakovich (The majority of my symphonies are tombstones) it is the later citation of a russian proverb which establishes the color and flame of this massive work. The proverb was allegedly told to Vollmann by a russian prostitute, it goes, "A new bride cries until sunrise; a sister cries until she gets a gold ring; a mother cries until the end of her life."

This isn't a novel as such but troop movement under the cover of night. Its first two major sections detail the trevails of Lenin's wife Krupskaya and her contemporary, german artistKathe Kollwitz. This is haunting writing, shivering in the penumbra of epic History. If Arendt could speak from the chalice and blade, then Vollmann spends time with Grass's Flounder in the kitchen reading potato peelings for a true, if hysterical, kabbalah.

Shostakovich will likely prove to be the moral thread throughout the shifting narrative. His music and the volume by Volkov (given to m this summer by Joel) have proved invaluable.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home