One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Thursday, June 2, 2011

On a Lighter Note I Just Finished Coetzee's "In the Heart of the Country"

I know: I can't seem to shake him. I'm going back to Kindle and Flaubert before moving on to Coetzee's Youth.

This one, an early novel (1977), started off a little slow. But by the time the protagonist buries her father in a porcupine den--or does she?--the story starts to reel nightmarishly to a very bizarre close.

Parts so graphic I wasn't sure it was on the page.

Toward the end she hears godlike voices--speaking in Spanish--coming from the sky. This is bullet #259 (there's a total of 266 first person journal entries):

259.     Then last night the voice would not be stilled, but spoke on and on, no longer in tight little epigrams but in flowing periods, such that I wondered whether it were not a new god speaking, riding over my protesting clamour. "Leave me, I want to sleep!" I shouted, drumming my heels. It is in order that we shall not fall victim to the assassin, said the voice, that we consent to die if we ourselves turn assassin. Every man born in slavery is born for slavery. The slave loses everything in his chains, even the desire to escape from them. God loves no one, it went on, and hates no one, for God is free from passions and feels no pleasure or pain. Therefore one who loves God cannot endeavor to bring it about that God should love him in return; for, in desiring this, he would desire that God should not be God. God is hidden, and every religion that does not affirm that God is hidden is not true. "Go away," I shouted, "Spanish filth!" Desire is a question that has no answer, went on the voice -- I know now for sure that they do not hear me --  The feeling of solitude is a longing for a place. That place is the centre of the world, the navel of the universe. Less than all cannot satisfy man. Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained. When God accomplishes through the wicked what he has decreed in his secret counsels, the wicked are not thereby excusable. Those whom God leaves out of his election he is also reproving, and for no other reason than that he wills to exclude them.
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