Friday, May 13, 2022

the last book I ever read (Rebellion by Joseph Roth, excerpt two)

from Rebellion by Joseph Roth (translated by Michael Hofmann):

There was gruel, as there always was on Sundays. The invalids intoned their regular Sunday complaint: gruel is boring. But Andreas didn’t find it at all boring. He raised the bowl to his lips and drank it down, having vainly trawled through it with his spoon a couple of times. The others looked on, and hesistantly followed his example. He kept the bowl at his lips a long time, and peered over the edge of it at his comrades. He saw that they liked the gruel, too, and their complaining had been all for show. They’re heathens! crowed Andres to himself, and he put his bowl down.

The dried vegetables, which the others called ‘barbed wire,’ were less to his liking. Nevertheless, he finished his plate. It gave him the satisfying feeling of having done his duty, as though he had polished up his rusty rifle. He regretted that there was no NCO on hand to inspect the plates. His plate was as clean as his conscience. A sunbeam struck the china, and it gleamed. It looked like a check mark from Heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment