Monday, October 23, 2006

from Cosmos

Is this or is this not worthy of Walker Percy? Others might ask whether Percy is worthy of Gombrowicz. Well, we have them both, thank goodness. Here's Gombrowicz, from page 116 of Cosmos:
Thy took their seats around the big table in the hall, several doors opened into the adjoining rooms, there was a staircase that led to the upper floors. The doors were open, revealing rooms that were totally bare except for a few beds and chairs, lots of chairs. The table was laden with food, spirits were high - more wine anyone? - but the gaiety was of the kind that is created at parties when everyone is jolly just to avoid spoiling the mood for the others, while in fact, everyone is slightly absent, like at a railway station, like waiting for a train - and this absence was connecting with the destitution of this house found by chance, bare, without curtains, wardrobes, bed sheets, drawings, or shelves, with only windows, beds, and chairs. In this emptiness not only words but also persons reverberated loudly. Roly-Poly and Leon in particular were as if inflated in a vaccum and boomed with their persons, while their booming was accompanied by the hubbub of their guests eating heartily, pierced through by the Lulus' giggles, and Fuks, already quite drunk, was acting like an ass, I knew he drank to drown Drozdowski and their mutual wretchedness, his alienation being similar to mine with my parents . . . he, the luckless, the dupe, the irritating civil servant, forced one to shut one's eyes or to look away. Roly-Poly, the magnificent dispenser of salads and sausages, entertaining, entreating, inviting, please, ladies and gentlemaen, try this, there's plenty, we won't starve, I guarantee you, and so on, and so on - busily making sure everything was tip-top, with style, well, well, an eccentric sort of expedition, fun and games, no one will be able to say they haven't had enought to eat or drink. And also Leon's doubling and tripling himself, the Amphitrion, teh commander-in-chief, the initiator, hey, hey, all together now . . .
This was his final novel; the only thing he published after this were a few diary entries, which he kept on and off throughout the fifties and sixties. The diaries are also great reading, although many of the cultural figures have been lost in the monstrous human crash, to borrow Robert Lowell's phrase. Anyway it's a fine novel, one of the finest, really, and you should go and read it as soon as you can.


Blogger Big Jon, Bully said...

Quin,you magnificent bastard. This is stupendous.

3:29 PM  

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