Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge



[Epub] ➜ Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge ➝ Rainer Maria Rilke – E17streets4all.co.uk This is the definitive, widely acclaimed translation of the major prose work of one of our century's greatest poets a masterpiece like no other Elizabeth Hardwick Rilke's only novel, extraordinary f This is the definitive, des Malte PDF É widely acclaimed translation of the major prose work of one of our century's greatest poetsa masterpiece like no other Elizabeth HardwickRilke's only novel, extraordinary for its structural uniqueness and purity of language First published in , it has proven to be one of the most influential and enduring works of fiction of our centuryMalte Laurids Brigge is a young Danish nobleman and poet living in Paris Obsessed with death and with the reality that lurks behind appearances, Brigge Die Aufzeichnungen ePUB Æ muses on his family and their history and on the teeming, alien life of the city Many of the themes and images that occur in Rilke's poetry can also be found in the novel, prefiguring the modernist movement in its selfawareness and imagistic immediacy.Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge

Rainer Maria Rilke is des Malte PDF É considered one of the German language's greatest th century poets His haunting images tend to focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety — themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poetsHe wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose His two mos.

Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge Kindle ´
  • Paperback
  • 304 pages
  • Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge
  • Rainer Maria Rilke
  • English
  • 01 September 2018
  • 9780679732457

10 thoughts on “Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge

  1. says:





    We humans, with our mighty brain, like to use its powers to dwell on our own condition, which is precisely, but only partly, determined by the nature of this brain with which we have been equipped.

    Themes like love, or an emphatic vulnerability to another being; our sense of time, with memories of our own lives and experiences from times when this brain was still young and absorbing the world and absorbing itself, or with anxiety about the life not yet lived; the material surroundings, with objects that become familiar extensions of our selves, or with some artifacts that awaken in us a feeling of elation and that we identify as “art”; dwellings that become our private spaces offering us comfort or a sense of constriction, or public ones where we cross others like us, or large rooms stacked with magic objects that are like little windows into the mind of another and which we call “books”; all these themes fascinate us and we relish meditating upon them.

    But apart from all the above, there could be another recurring thought in this busily thinking brain. An obsession with its own incontrovertible and eventual void. Death.

    Rilke spent some time during 1902 -03 in Paris, when he was in his late twenties, during which he dedicated himself to writing about art. He wrote on Rodin with whom he became quite close. May be his interest in the materiality of matter originates there. He also studied Cézanne who was at the end of his days, and left a series of letters on his paintings, still revered by contemporary art historians and which I plan to be my next Rilke read Briefe über Cezanne.

    He also started this fictional diary, supposedly written by a character called Malte Laurids Brigge, whose name we don’t get to know until about a full third into the book, although even then his identity remains elusive, and who, perhaps not coincidentally, has the same age as Rilke was when writing it. This work he did not finish until about 1908 while he was in Rome and was published in Paris when he returned, in 1910.

    This is the only novel Rilke wrote. But it is not a novel really; he called it Prosabuch. As a series of poetic vignettes it has to be read slowly. With an interrupted reading one can deal better with the fragmentation in the inner narrative. It helps not to try and impose a linear development, for the vignettes (around seventy of them), are loosely connected by what at best could be understood as a personal recollections. A diary of observations, not of happenings.

    So, this flâneur of the mind offers us visits to the streets of Paris, its libraries, and horrid hospitals, and we become lookers like him with a full range: myopia and hyperopia. Or he invites us to the opposite of urban existence: the mansion and gardens of his childhood in which we no longer know who is a ghost or who is a specter in his mind. And these the views of recollection are visually compressed.

    Oppositions help in delineating meaning. And so as well as city-countryside, we see more of these that function like poles from which this tenuous non-narrative hangs. Seeing and blindness, love and loneliness, poverty and wealth, health and diseases, and most clearly of all, life and death.

    But for me the most captivating parts were those in which the flâneur of aesthetics stays well alive, and tunes his senses for the discovery of art, whether this is his own writing--his quest in the search of poetry, or the magic contained in, for example, a cycle of tapestries--where he finds this sought poetry.

    The way he beholds the Dame à la Licorne series is unsurpassed.


  2. says:

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    This novel is amazing.

    I am sitting here, reading the responses left by others, and what the hell? Most of you are downgrading this book due to the lack of Rilke's message in this book. For those of you who do not know Rilke, Rilke is considered one of the worlds greatest poets, as this was his first and only novel. If you do not like, nor prefer poetry, this novel is not for you.

    The book is a compilation of narrative, philosophical asides, sketches for future poems, and detailed descriptions of artwork. It is clear that the writer is a poet, for much of the content does not make sense except in an irrational way.

    As every selection in the book shows, he prefers to sit in the corner with his notebook making observations about those around him or delving into his reminiscences from home, never getting up and actually entering into the reality of life. Those who need a clear plot and a reliable narrator beware. This book is non-linear and reads more like poetry than a traditional novel. Or even as a diary. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is a challenging novel, as there is no storyline, nor plot structure. Instead, this the notes in this novel deliver an cryptic poetic message.

    I can see ones point when claiming they do not understand why there is German words in this novel, despite it being translated. When reading, just like everyone else, I’m garbling the pronunciation, but it doesn't matter. I like the sounds. And not only the sounds, I enjoy the anticipation, the holding-my-breath quality of knowing that the English words sit right there, across the gutter of the page. The fact that the translator did not take all of Rilke's words and water them down, but instead leaves them there for the readers to witness Rilke's real words and beauty, makes the novel that much better.

    I just started reading this novel, and I can say with merriment that I'm extremely drawn in by the compelled beauty in which Rilke delivers. This novel is truly amazing, as I see it as nothing less. I hate seeing RM's work get bashed, all because some people can't endure beautiful literature. This is a novel I shall posses for the rest of my life.

  3. says:

    I felt repeatedly while reading The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge that I might have had a strong positive response to it if I had (have?) a fear of death or if I was well acquainted with the poetry of Rilke. I also noticed while reading that I do not have a fear of death (view spoiler)[ or at least certainly not in a manner similar enough to the narrative voice (hide spoiler)]

  4. says:

    Rilke’s semiautobiographical surrogate Malte Laurids Brigge is a young Dane, a noble scion adrift in early twentieth century Paris, trying to become a poet. He corresponds rather well to Anthony Burgess’s description, in his charming study ReJoyce (1965), “of the type of student Stephen Daedelus represents, poor, treasuring old books with foxed leaves, independent, unwhining, deaf to political and social shibboleths, fanatically devoted to art and art only.” Malte and Stephen hang out at the Bibliotheque Nationale, worry about how incidents of shabbiness in their wardrobes may effect their dignity, and are nuts about Ibsen (or was that just Joyce himself? Did he lend that admiration of his to Stephen? I’m not near my bookshelves.) Malte doesn’t have anything like Stephen’s confidence in ultimate triumph—like the Camus and Sartre heroes for whom he is said to have provided a model, Malte is pushed pretty hard up against the wall by metaphysical doubts and a general terror before existence. But even so, they both have high-caliber minds that relish the lyrical-gnomic fragment and eschew exposition or transition (in the very best badass tradition of high modernist narration) in the telling of eerie tales from their unhappy childhoods (Malte’s mom is dead, too) and in excursions through their daunting hoards of philosophical and historical arcana (Stephen likes scholastic philosophy; Malte has a thing for famous female anchorites and fanatical mystic nuns, plus, and this is a big one for him, the deathbed agonies of medieval French kings as encountered in Froissart’s Chronicles); and Rilke is -- like Joyce, and like Baudelaire their mutual master in this respect -- profoundly attentive to the crushing squalor and pathos to be glimpsed in the “sinuous creases of old capital cities”:

    Or that time in Naples: that young creature sat there opposite me in the street car and died. At first it looked like a fainting spell; we even drove on for a while. But then there was no doubt that we had to stop. And behind us vehicles halted and piled up, as though there would never be any more moving in that direction. The pale, stout girl might have quietly died like that, leaning against the woman beside her. But her mother would not allow this. She contrived all possible difficulties for her. She disordered her clothes and poured something into her mouth which could no longer retain anything. She rubbed her forehead with a liquid someone had brought, and when the eyes, at that, rolled back a little, she began to shake her to make her gaze come forward again. She shouted into those eyes that heard nothing, she pushed and pulled the whole thing to and fro like a doll, and finally she raised her arm and struck the puffy face with all her might, so that it should not die. That time I was afraid.


    Rilke’s tableaux parisiens are as uncanny and disturbing as Baudelaire’s. He's as fascinated by the old, the worn-out, the thrown-away, the girls, still unused in their innermost depths, who had never been loved as the poet of “Les Sept Vieillards” and “Les Petites Vieilles.” On a blind newspaper peddler’s Sunday cravat and new straw hat: “He himself got no pleasure from them, and who among all these people (I looked about me) could imagine that all this finery was for them?” The wannabe Bohemian girls from good families Malte encounters copying in museums wear dresses that, without servants to button then all the way up, appear half open in the back. Beside him in one of the waiting rooms of the Hospice de la Salpêtrière, a last refuge of prostitutes and beggars, aged women and the insane, Malte becomes conscious of

    a huge, immovable mass, having a face that I saw was empty, quite without features and without memories; and it was gruesome that the clothes were like that of a corpse dressed for a coffin. The narrow, black cravat had been buckled in the same loose, impersonal way around the collar, and the coat showed that it had been put on the will-less body by other hands. The hand had been placed on the trousers exactly where it lay, and even the hair looked as if it had been combed by those women who lay out the dead, and was stiffly arranged, like the hair of stuffed animals.


    The portions of Malte's family memories and introspection are no less absorbing. Rilke's imagery is often so striking that even the deepest burrowing in Malte's malaise and artistic self-doubt can rival the lurid street scenes. I put my little strength together like money. ...but inside you it preciptates, hardens, takes on pointed, geometrical forms between your organs. ...it was a literal, unambiguous tale that destroyed the teeming maggots of my conjectures. Certainly the weightiest book I've read this year.

  5. says:

    I don’t imagine that I will always read. I hope not, anyway. For someone who is so scared of death it is rather perverse, or certainly absurd, that I spend so much of my time amongst the dead, instead of engaging with the world around me. Indeed, that is why I started reading heavily, it was, I’m sure, a way of turning away from a world that I so often felt, and still feel, at odds with, towards another that I could control and which did not challenge me. With books, I can pick and choose a sensibility, an outlook, that chimes with my own and I can guarantee company and conversation that I don’t find alienating or dispiriting. To this end, I have read The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge three times. As a novel it is something of a failure, but large parts of it resonate with me as much as, if not more than, any writing ever set down on paper.

    “My last hope was always the window. I imagined that outside there, there still might be something that belonged to me, even now, even in this sudden poverty of dying. But scarcely had I looked thither when I wished the window had been barricaded, blocked up, like the wall. For now I knew that things were going on out there in the same indifferent way, that out there, too, there was nothing but my loneliness.”


    The Notebooks is essentially the thoughts, memories and impressions of Malte, a twenty-eight year old Dane who has recently moved to Paris. There are a number of well-known but now dated novels that deal with the ex-pat experience, such as Cortazar’s Hopscotch and Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, novels that are invariably marred by machismo and pretension. The Notebooks, however, contains none of that. Rilke’s Paris isn’t a playboy’s playground, littered with booze and whores; it is a ‘great’ city, full of ‘curious temptations,’ but there is nothing glamorous about it and no sense that Malte is living some kind of mock-heroic existence. Indeed, in the opening line of the novel he states that Paris is a place where, it strikes him, one does not go to live, but where one goes to die; it is a place that smells of pommes frites and fear.

    That Malte is the last, or one of the last, in his family line is trebly significant, for he is preoccupied with death, with solitude, and with nostalgia. One notices that, again in contrast with many other similar novels, there is not one living character with whom he regularly engages or communicates. In Paris he is an observer, making notes about ordinary citizens, but never interacting with them. For example, he sees a pregnant woman ‘inching ponderously along by a high, sun-warmed wall’ as though ‘seeking assurance that it was still there,’ he watches a man collapse, and then another who has some kind of physical ailment that causes him to hop and jerk suddenly. He appears to be drawn to the eccentric and lost, the suffering and down-trodden, no doubt because he identifies with them, but he remains alone and isolated himself. Towards the end of the novel he states that he once felt a loneliness of such enormity that his heart was not equal to it.

    However, when he is surrounded by people, such as when there is a carnival, he describes it as a ‘vicious tide of humanity’ and notes how laughter oozes from their mouths like pus from a wound. Malte is the kind of man who lives mostly in his head who, although he encourages his solitude, is scared of losing his connection with the world, of withdrawing and parting from it. At one point he goes to the library, and praises it as a place where people are so engrossed in their reading that they barely acknowledge each other. He spends his time strolling to little shops, book dealers and antique places, that, he says, no one ever visits. Once more, we see an interest in obscure things, in things that have been forgotten or neglected. One of my favourite passages is when he comes upon a torn down building, and he states that it is the bit that is left that interests him, the last remaining wall with little bits of floor still visible. It is the suggestion of something once whole, once fully functioning that grabs his attention.

    description
    [Rainer Maria Rilke – left – and Auguste Rodin in Paris]

    As noted, much of the book is concerned with Malte’s memories regarding his family, specifically in relation to his childhood. One understands how this – his upbringing and family situation – may have gone some way to making him the man he is. He is taciturn, he says, and then notes how his father was too. His father was not fond of physical affection either. Later, in one of the more autobiographical anecdotes, Malte talks about his mother’s mourning for a dead child, a little girl, and how he would pretend to be Sophie [the name of Rilke’s own mother] in an effort to please her. It is therefore not a surprise that he is highly sensitive, inward-looking and ill at ease with himself. Indeed, there is much in The Notebooks about identity and individuality. There are, Malte says, no plurals, there is no women, only singularities; he baulks at the term family, saying that the four people under this umbrella did not belong together. Furthermore, at one stage he fools around, dressing up in different costumes, in which he feels more himself, not less; but then he tries on a mask and has some kind of emotional breakdown.

    All of these things – ruins, obscurity, deformity, ailments, nostalgia, the self, loneliness – come together in what is the book’s dominant theme, which is that of death. Only Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilych and Lampedusa’s The Leopard contain as much heartrending insight into the subject. There are numerous passages and quotes I could discuss or lift from the text, but, not wanting to ruin your own reading, I will focus on only one. When writing about individuality, Malte bemoans the fact, as he sees it, that people do not die their own deaths anymore, they die the death of their illness, they become their illness and their passing, therefore, has nothing to do with them. In sanatoriums, he continues, people die ‘so readily and with much gratitude’; the upper classes die a genteel death at home, and the lower-classes are simply happy to find a death that ‘more or less fits.’

    “Who is there today who still cares about a well-finished death? No one. Even the rich, who could after all afford this luxury, are beginning to grow lazy and indifferent; the desire to have a death of one’s own is becoming more and more rare. In a short time it will be as rare as a life of one’s own.”


    Malte contrasts these predictable, unheroic deaths with that of his uncle, Chamberlain Christoph Detlev Brigge. The old Chamberlain died extravagantly; his death was so huge that new wings of the house ought to have been built to accommodate it. He shouted and made demands, demands to see people – both living and dead – and demands to die. This voice plagued the locals, keeping them in a state of agitation; it was a voice louder than the church bells…it was the voice of death, not of Christoph, and it became the master, a more terrible master than the Chamberlain had ever been himself. The point that Malte is making seems to be that one should not go gentle into that good night, that one should not accept the death that most pleases others, that causes the least amount of fuss. You will die, there is no escape, it is within you, your death, from the very first moment, you carry it with you at all times, but you do not have to go out with a whimper.

    I wrote at the beginning of this review that The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is a failure as a novel and this probably warrants further explanation. Rather like Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, which it resembles in many ways actually, I imagine that some readers will find it difficult to read the book cover-to-cover. There is absolutely no plot, and many of the entries do not follow on from the previous one. Moreover, after a few pages about Paris, which I would guess serve to draw in a number of people, the focus abruptly shifts, and the book then becomes increasingly strange and elusive, with a relentless interiority. None of this bothers me, however. While I do hope to give up reading one day, I will, without question, carry this book around inside me for the rest of my life, rather like my death.

  6. says:

    Sometimes choosing a star rating can be difficult. To avoid falling trap to such uncertainty, I try to stick as formally to the description as possible (ie: 1= “didn’t like,” 2= “it was ok,” 3=”liked it,” etc.). What gets really hairy, though, is when I have to reconcile “liked” with “appreciated,” which can be at odds and which happens occasionally with “literature.” This is made all the tougher when I already have it in my head that I should “like,” or at the very least “appreciate,” a book because people whose opinions I respect think highly of it. That should really does get me and make me second guess my own opinion. I feel like “I don’t know how much of it I understood, but it was as if I were being solemnly promised that at some time I would understand it all” (150).

    Thank goodness goodreads allows so much space for someone to move beyond a simplistic star rating and to give lengthy descriptions of the different aspects of the books that reached him (as well as provide rambling prefatory notes).
    *
    I didn’t like reading this. I never found myself anxiously awaiting the next time I could find time to pick it up and read more about Malte’s childhood reminiscences. I waded through his obscure historical asides, couldn’t keep any of the names straight, and just didn’t care. I actually cringed at certain passages which I thought were striving so hard to achieve profundity and reached odd at best. For example, when Malte “hit upon the idea of offering [the neighbor on the other side of the wall] my will. For one day I understood that his was at an end. And after that, whenever I felt it coming on, I stood on my side of the wall and begged him to make use of it. And as far as my expenditure of will was concerned, I began to feel it” (132). To me this reeks of a would-be poet attempting to emphasize how he feels things more deeply than the common man, when, in reality, he’s nuts and it makes no sense. Plus, that page is followed by a page of meditation on a box lid, “a lid [that] could have no other longing than to find itself on its box…the fulfillment of its desires” (134). He even decides “this box lid has it in for me.”
    *
    Then there are his ruminations on love, death, and God. All fodder for some very profound revelations. However, again I just couldn’t get into them—it’s the same problem I’ve always had with the Transcendentalists, and some of this sounded pretty transcendentalist-ish: “In the garden, there is one chief thing; everything is everywhere, and one would have to be in everything in order not to miss anything” (149). Malte is definitely trying to live deep and suck out the marrow of life, to separate himself from the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation.
    *
    HOWEVER, there were many passages that I did find profound, especially towards the beginning. (Maybe this just isn’t the type of book one can read a few pages at a time in ten minute bursts). In the beginning, I understand that Malte does represent the true Modern man: he is “learning to see” (3), discovering that “the main thing was that one was alive” (2), wondering “Is it possible that the whole history of the world has been misunderstood? Is it possible that the past is false because one has always spoken of its masses…” (16), understanding that “something is going on in me as well, something that is beginning to distance and separate me from everything” (37). Talk about embodying the disillusionment, isolation, and true severing of ties with the past of the modernist movement (just read page 38 in its entirety and you’ve got a summary of said movement). There is sooo much talk about “masks” in the book, and I see that as a metaphor for Malte’s goal. He seeks to reveal the Truth to all of those around him, to rip away the false masks under which they live. Unfortunately, he is too awkward (especially around girls) and self-conscious and insecure. There were countless time throughout the text that I wrote in the margins “Prufrock!” In fact, as I read I had planned for this review to be a comparison between this book and the poem. Now I realize that I would have had to copy nearly the entire poem because comparisons/connections can be drawn to nearly every line of it (“Now one accidentally emerges among accidental things and almost takes fright at not being invited” (97)…I mean, come on!). Malte’s “overwhelming question” is “My God, if it were possible to impart something of it. But would it exist then, would it exist?” (54)…”And will they, in any event see what I am saying here” (111).

    A Favorite Quotation:“Flowers and fruits are ripe when they fall; animals feel themselves and find one another and are satisfied. But we, who have made God for ourselves, we can not find satisfaction” (174).

    A Favorite Scene: When his dog reproaches him for letting death in. Touching. (121).

    A Quotation That, Perhaps, Sums Up My Reading Experience: “Many things came into my hands that, so to speak, ought to have been read already, for other things it was much too soon; nothing at that time was just right for the present. But nevertheless I read” (148).

  7. says:

    Dense, peculiar, at times impenetrable, at times utterly bursting with stunning imagery, this is an immensely difficult book to pin down. And it got under my skin. Proust crashing headlong into Dostoyevsky. This is what happens when a writer who is, at heart, a lyrical romantic faces the dawning industrial era with a combination of absolute trepidation and awe.

    And if you live alone, in a foreign city, sure of not very much, your mind periodically drawn back to a childhood in a frigid Northern clime, you'll be as devastated by it as I was, and you will climb up to the top of your building, look at the sun set in a language you barely speak, and you'll realize exactly where Rilke was coming from.

  8. says:

    Upon reading The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge one is left haunted by the wonderfully poetic prose, but in possession of only a vague notion of what the book was about. Through a series of disjointed vignettes, Rilke opens a window into the soul of his protagonist, but the view is as from a moving vehicle: the scenery is constantly changing, and one can only glimpse at the detail.

    The Notebooks blend the mythic with the mundane, combining obscure ancient tales and anecdotes about everyday life, in a manner that appears haphazard, but which taken together produce a complex portrait of Rilke himself: expressing the accumulated aspirations and anxieties of the young poet in a foreign land. He is concerned with history (both his own and that of the world) as a power to influence and to motivate, but also as baggage; a force to be fought and overcome. Above all he is concerned with death, not as an end, but as a thing intertwined with life itself - a surrealism that emphasizes a powerful truth.

    What a strange and beautiful novel.

  9. says:

    'The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge' isn't a very novelistic novel, as it is told as a sort of diary in the first person and is semi-autobiographical. Brigge is a twenty-eight year old Danish man, alone and adrift in Paris. He wishes to transmute his fear of death into some profound literary work and fills his notebooks with memories, historical anecdote, and sketches of the Parisian streets. I was very moved by Rilke's evocation of urban alienation, of listening to your neighbours through the walls of a cheap rented room because you have no-one to talk to, and of death-obsession. I identified with Brigge's preoccupations, having on occasion been in just the same state of mind myself. On the other hand, towards the end of the book Brigge writes more of love than death, and this made him harder for me to relate to. (This probably doesn't reflect too well on me.)

    Brigge, a solitary and melancholic figure with no direction in life but periodically overwhelmed by fear of death, seems to be a shadow or echo of Rilke. Perhaps he represents someone Rilke thought he could have been? Brigge is unhappy and there is no indication that he will ever transcend his poverty and perpetual introspection. I can very well understand being afraid of such a lonely trap of a life. In fact, one might subtitle this book, 'The Dangers of Being an Unhappy Introvert in Paris'. During the first third or so I was rather reminded of Plath's 'The Bell Jar'.

    Rilke's writing is absolutely beautiful, which isn't surprising as he was famous as a poet. In fact, this was his only novel. By way of example, I was struck by this bit about reading:

    'Somehow I had a premonition of what I so often felt at later times: that you did not have the right to open a single book unless you engaged to read them all. With every line you read, you were breaking off a portion of the world. Before books, the world was intact, and afterwards it might be restored to wholeness once again.'


    I tend to find poetry intimidating and impossible to understand, but I ought to give Rilke's a chance. 'The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge' suggests I have an affinity with him. No other writer I've come across has articulated the fear of death as effectively.

  10. says:

    Rilke's extraordinary semi-autobiographical novel deals with masking our true selves and others in order to fit into the bewildering chaos of the world around us. The writer (Rilke or Brigge, take your pick) takes us through visions, memories, and impressions, and starkly contrasts these with the world as he now experiences it. The work is beautifully amorphous, and surprisingly funny:

    There is a being that is completely harmless if it passes before your eyes, you hardly notice it and immediately forget it again. But as soon as it gets into your hearing in some invisible fashion it develops there, it creeps out, as it were, and one has seen cases where it penetrated the brain and thrived devastatingly in that organ, like canine pneumococcus that enters through the nose.
    This being is the neighbor.

    It's also surprisingly coherent, although it doesn't seem that way when you are knee deep in the writer's take on, for example, the story behind certain Danish or English historical figures, or the true driving forces behind the prodigal son's departure and eventual return. Loosely speaking, the novel passes from an intense scrutiny of self, including preoccupations with ghosts, costumes, death, fear, and isolation, to a discussion of the unrevealed psyches of men and women who are the stuff of legends, and ends on an exploration of the joys of unrequited love: To be loved is to perish; to love is to endure. I felt like I was reading the evolving journal of an anxious, perceptive soul - starting with self (as journalists are apt to do), and developing into a more abstract exploration of human nature and ideals.

    It was a pleasure to read.

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