Tuesday, August 17, 2010

from "The Book of Hrabal" by Peter Esterházy



'Why do you drink, Aunt Georgina?'

'I told you, my pet. Just call me Georgie. Don't be so formal, like that mother of yours. Who, as you know, couldn't stand the sight of me. But take my word for it, I never made a pass at your father. Though not because of your mother, either. And I don't just drink, I drink to excess... I've been drinking pitchers of beer for thirty-five years now, but not for the sake of drinking, no, I detest drunks, I drink because it helps me think, so I can get to the bottom of the text better, because I don't read for entertainment, merely to pass the time, or to help me fall asleep, I who live in a country where fifteen generation learned to read and write, I drink so that I should never again be able to fall asleep from reading, to make the act of reading send shivers up and down my spine, because I happen to share Hegel's view that a valuable person is rarely noble, and that a sinner is seldom a murderer. If only I could write, I would write a book about the great, great unhappiness of humankind, and it's great happiness...'

On page fifty-eight, the truest of the true. All typographical errors preserved from the original text. Grandeur comes from an accompanying scent of old library book and thoroughly-enjoyed cigarettes. I suspect I must now go drink a glass of wine. Appreciate Mr. Esterházy's glorious cloud of hair and the fact that Haydn composed music in the (gorgeous) palace built by his family. [image]

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