Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tightens the mechanism

The blurb on the back of the Vintage edition of Thomas Bernhard's Gathering Evidence: a memoir, has it that the young Bernhard 'ran away from home', when it was from the grammar school that he ran, running 'in the opposite direction', doing 'an about-turn in the Reichenhaller Strasse' to an apprenticeship in the Scherzhauserfeld Project. Nearly the whole of the third volume, The Cellar: An Escape, traces and retraces this about-turn in the Reichenhaller Strasse, the escape itself a circling and an entrenchment, the wind up movement that tightens the mechanism and so energises the release.

The blurb also claims that the book 'recalls the novels of Dickens'. If this is the case I can only imagine it as a mad kind of Dickens, where Pip forever goes over his first fateful journey to and from Miss Havisham's and much is made of the contradictions in his emotions, his perceptions of others and the ironies of the journey; where Joe, at the end of the volume, calls out to him that 'Nothing matters' before easing his stomach over his workman's trousers and getting back to leaning on his pneumatic drill.

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