Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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

from Gargoyles by Thomas Bernhard:

“With closed eyes I see everything much more distinctly than I did then,” she said.

“I have been thinking whom to leave my clothes to. They’re in the wardrobe, all in good condition… I made my house over to my son long ago, though I haven’t let him know.”

She could not say he was not concerned about her, she added, but he did no more than was his duty. Her daughter-in-law had always hated her. It had started as spontaneous dislike at their first meeting and had grown ever stronger over the years. “My son doesn’t dare to love me any more because of the way his wife hates me.” And by now, Frau Ebenhöh said, she was “crushed” by the more and more revolting stories her daughter-in-law concocted about her. The fact was that with her husband’s death she had become all too vulnerable to the ill will of her son and her daughter-in-law. Her daughter-in-law had thrust her into the outer darkness of hopeless solitude, and her son had done nothing but look on. He’d entered into marriage much too soon; he’d been immature and regarded that girl from Köflach as a way to escape from his parents, and had gone downhill instantly. He was now employed as a helper to a tanner in Krottendorf, and worked even on Sundays. His clothes reeked when he came on a visit; they gave out a frightful odor of cadaver, and so did his wife’s clothes and the grandmother’s clothes. Whenever they came, the whole house was filled with that odor of cadaver. After they left, she had to keep the windows open for hours or she couldn’t bear it. But they themselves never noticed they smelled so awful.

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