“I am a little worn out, raddled, squashed, downtrodden, shot full of holes. Mortars have mortared me to bits. I am a little crumbly, decaying, yes, yes. I am sinking and drying up a little. I am a bit scalded and scorched, yes, yes. That’s what it does to you. That’s life.” Robert Walser, “Nervous”
Yeah. Car troubles, dead computer, sick kids, battling with my insurance company, trying to make ten cents out of five. Even the good news of the week came bitterly. Not the most conducive week for “The Reader.” Book one was interesting enough, if not especially original; a teenage boy falls into love/lust with a woman in her thirties, they have a lot of sex, he does whatever she says, and then one day she vanishes. He looks for her, but no dice.
When part two starts, a few years later, we learn that she’s been working – as a guard? – at a concentration camp. I went from carving out a few minutes every day for reading to not reading at all. I don’t know, I just completely lost interest. Picked it up again this morning – I know I’m in a funk, and don’t want to just reject it if a little patience will pay off – but this sealed the deal: “The other main charge involved the night of the bombing that ended everything. The troops and guards had locked the prisoners, several hundred women, in a church in a village that had been abandoned by most of its inhabitants. Only a few bombs fell, possibly intended for the nearby railroad or a factory, or maybe simply released because they were left over from a raid n a larger town. One of them hit the priest’s house in which the troops and guards were sleeping. Another landed on the church steeple. First the steeple burned, then the roof; then the blazing rafters collapsed into the nave, and the pews caught fire. The heavy doors were unbudgeable. The defendants could have unlocked them. They did not, and the women locked in the church burned to death.” (p. 107) OK, fine for now, thanks! I’m not looking for Schlink to blow sunshine and bubbles up my butt, but I think I’ll pass on The Holocaust being my escape from difficult times.