Friday, April 10, 2015

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

from Gargoyles by Thomas Bernhard:

At his last visit, my father recalls, Prince Saurau, commenting on the flood, kept exclaiming “landslide” and spoke of “despair assailing his mind.” Again and again he exclaimed “landslide” and kept reckoning “flood damage, flood costs, flood sums.” The whole region was afflicted by a mild but “insidious” smell of decaying cadavers—on both banks of the Ache a great many drowned cattle had been wedged against houses and trees, torn open, bloated, some “dismembered by the power of the water” (my father), and many head of livestock from the Saurau barns in the valley had not yet been cleared away. And because of this smell the prince had kept exclaiming words like decay, dissolution, and the word diluvianism. Then he had suddenly declared that the noises in his brain were wreaking far greater devastation inside his head than what could be seen on the banks of the Ache down below. “Here in my head,” Saurau had said, “there is actually inconceivable devastation.”

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