Saturday, June 18, 2016

the last book I ever read (Donald Antrim's The Hundred Brothers, excerpt six)

from The Hundred Brothers: A Novel by Donald Antrim:

Damn. Here I was again in the old unconscious complicity with Hiram’s authoritarian posturing. This happens every time I engage with Hiram—it happens to a lot of us when we engage with him; we feel infantilized—and I invariably promise myself, after taking orders from Hiram, that next time I’ll stand up to him, not obey, and let him get angry if he wants. Tiptoeing around Hiram’s anger resolves nothing and only serves to perpetuate a strained and uneasy state of affairs in which one personality—Hiram’s—overwhelmingly influences the general quality of feeling in the room as a whole. Would it be going too far to imagine my own bad moods, my terrors and despairs and so on, as personalized responses to this room-wide “Hiram-centric” emotional atmosphere? Could it then follow that Hiram is himself responsible, in large part—unwittingly, presumably—for whatever uncomfortableness we brothers experience when we congregate? Might it be possible—if, in fact, Hiram is the root cause of our squabbles and disputes (it would make sense that the firstborn, Hiram, might faithfully embody the rages and pathologies of the preceding generation and, by extension, the generations before that, retreating backward in time; no single person, acting alone, is ever truly a “root cause” of inherent family dilemmas. It would be better to imagine the “root cause” as a set of psychic wounds handed down through the ages. In this way Hiram could be said to resemble that insane ancestral king about whom we know so little save that he was, as I believe I can show if I someday unearth the correct documents, our likely progenitor)—might it be possible to drive a wedge through this ancient and pervasive household trepidation—I don’t know what else to call it—by meeting Hiram’s anger with anger? It was in this absurd spirit of revolt against destiny that I now hurled the flowers to the floor before Hiram’s walker, before Hiram’s feet caged inside the walker’s clackety aluminum framework, and said, “Find a vase yourself, you sadist.”

No comments:

Post a Comment