Monday, April 6, 2015

the last book I ever read (Thomas Bernhard's Gargoyles, excerpt one)

from Gargoyles by Thomas Bernhard:

“Bloch has the art of seeing his life as an easily understood mechanism that he can keep regulated, speed up or slow down, according to his needs,” my father said. “However he uses his powers, the result is always practically useful, which makes the whole thing bearable. He finds pleasure in this art and is always trying to teach it to his family.” Basically, my father said, Bloch was the only person he could talk with in a manner that was never awkward, and also the only person whom he wholly trusted. Bloch had become a friend who meant more than other lost friends, all those others scattered throughout the countryside pretending to be its intelligentsia, exiled in deep, sunless valleys, in small towns and dull marketplaces and villages, accepting their monotonous fate as country doctors in a way that used to pain him when he himself was still a student, but now only repelled him. For all these people, the high point had been their university years, he said. Once discharged into a world disastrously trustful of them, they fell into a horrible familial and consulting-room apathy, irrespective of whether they worked in hospitals or in private practice. He was shocked, my father said, by the total submergence of these former classmates, as he discovered whenever he wrote to one or another of them, letters he felt to be increasingly pointless. Lifelong dilettantes, they married much too soon or much too late and were destroyed by their increasing lack of ideas, lack of imagination, lack of strength, and finally by their wives. “I met Bloch just at the moment when I had no friends left, nothing but correspondents connected with me by a shared youth and the shared trustfulness of the world toward us.”

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