Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Oh Joy

Being on holiday this week, the weather actually suggesting spring, I have sweetened my disposition by finishing Chinese letter by Svetislav Basara and Act of the Damned by Antonio Lobo Antunes.

This is the way things are: coats and dresses--they all walk around, lie,
love and steal: and uniforms arrest and shoot. People have minor roles in all

Such is Basara waxing bleakly in this marvelous Serbian novel from 1984. The terrifying novel from Antunes is set at a similar time in Portugal.

Just like that. Absurdity summed up by a travelling salesman--that's what my
father was--in three simple words: no real reason.

Millions of years ago, before we were married, my wife sent me another novella of Basara's Civil War Within and I was struck by its gallows humor. The themes of that book were largely political, not the personal angst of Basara's earlier work. as for Antunes, I see a great deal of Faulkner in his kaleidoscopic vision and Celline's hysteria as a soundtrack.


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