Monday, November 02, 2009

Victor Serge

And where are they anyway, today's Decembrists' wives? Standing in the queues for wine.
-- Victor Astafiev

I read the quoted story Lyudochka to a pair of my clients a few weeks back. A treacherous tale of desolation, it struck a valued contrast with the support we hope to extend to our own at-need.

I picked up my copy of The Case of Comrade Tulayev yesterday, took it to Louisville on my cycle trek and then buried myself within it after cleaning out the gutters and raking leaves. I am at p. 210 and am marvelled. This is a proud novel, staring without pause into the maw of the Terror. It is more than worthy to stand aside Dombrovsky, Kis, Grossman and Solzhenitsyn. Party functionaries retreat to a snowy meadow to debate whether Genghis Khan had revolutionary tendencies, not even allowing the metaphor of a Khan with a telephone to enter their discussion. This point lingers and then is articulated.

I am afraid and I am ashamed, not of myself but of all of us. I think of those
who have been shot, I see their faces, I hear their jokes, and i have migraines
that medicine has not yet named-a little pain the color of fire fixes
itself in the back of my neck. I am afraid, afraid, not so much afraid of dying
as of nothing and everything. .

This isn't the binary links between executioner and victim, this unravelling of the human psyche, a manufactured madness in the name of sweeping Progress. I suppose my friend Pint will be pleased with this assessment. I have given him such a hard time as of late for extrapolating the Third Reich in the 30s with the present administration. Let us all keep warm and allow our dreams to keep the wind's howl at bay.


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