Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poll Tax of the Mind

It is well documented that I don't prefer short stories; the balance between context and action is too delicate and I am often annoyed, find myself wanting or cursing the author for a miserly imagination. That said, two of my favorite books of the last twelve months, Europe Central and The Devil's Blind Spot, were essentially collections of stories albeit thematically linked to the degree that both could be considered novels-as-constellations.

I remain multitudes much like Walt and I have recently been touched by a pair of stories -- Like a bad dream by Heinrich Boll and The Parakeet by Victor Erofeyev, included in the collections 18 Stories and Life With An Indiot, respectively.

The first one measures morality in an epoch, not inextricably linked to Nazism, as economic growth precludes corruption, however sophisticated, and as the protagonist feels driven almost to illness by the necessity of such, it is elucidated that the story is universal and immortal. Boll, needless to say, is both delicate and severe.

The second tale hanuted me last night after i read such, resting from a day of driving. It is essentailly a retelling of the Grand Inquisitor, incorporating Dostoevsky's second-person moralizing to an explosive effect, as an officerof the Security Organs explains to a father the last, torture-filled, days of his son's life: locating a tautology within.

I will likely read the title story of Erofeyev this afternoon. I have read three more of the Boll and will likely not pursue such, especially given my fond familiarity with the author. I am not sure whether I will attempt to complete the Erofeyev, the new Mitchell arrived yesterday and my foolish optimism expects tohers will join me in the Burton.

We will see.


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