Saturday, September 28, 2013

the last book I ever read (The Prague Orgy by Philip Roth, excerpt four)

from The Prague Orgy by Philip Roth:

Here where the literary culture is held hostage, the art of narration flourishes by mouth. In Prague, stories aren’t simply stories; it’s what they have instead of life. Here they have become their stories, in lieu of being permitted to be anything else. Storytelling is the form their resistance has taken against the coercion of the powers-that-be.

I say nothing to Bolotka of the sentiments stirred up by my circuitous escape route, or the association it’s inspired between my ancestors’ Poland, his Prague tenement, and the Jewish Atlantis of an American childhood dream. I only explain why I’m late. “I was followed from the train station onto the trolley. I shook him before I got here. I hope I wasn’t wrong to come anyway.” I describe the student Hrobek and show Bolotka his note. “The note was given to me by a hotel clerk who I think is a cop.”

After reading it twice he says, “Don’t worry, they were only frightening him and his teacher.”

“If so, they succeeded. In frightening me too.”

No comments:

Post a Comment