Monday, March 21, 2022

the last book I ever read (Leonora Carrington's Down Below (NYRB Classics), excerpt one)

from Down Below by Leonora Carrington:

I begin therefore with the moment when Max was taken away to a concentration camp for the second time, under the escort of a gendarme who carried a rifle (May 1940). I was living in Saint-Martin-d’Ard├Ęche. I wept for several hours, down in the village; then I went up again to my house where, for twenty-four hours, I indulged in voluntary vomitings induced by drinking orange blossom water and interrupted by a short nap. I hoped that my sorrow would be diminished by these spasms, which tore at my stomach like earthquakes. I know now that this was but one of the aspects of those vomitings: I had realized the injustice of society, I wanted first of all to cleanse myself, then go beyond its brutal ineptitude. My stomach was the seat of that society, but also the place in which I was united with all the elements of the eart. It was the mirror of the earth, the reflection of which is just as real as the person reflected. That mirror—my stomach—had to be rid of the thick layers of filth (the accept formulas) in order properly, clearly, and faithfully to reflect the earth; and when I say “the earth,” I mean of course all the earths, stars, suns in the sky and on the earth, as well as all the stars, suns, and earths of the microbes’ solar system.

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