Friday, November 11, 2011
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
What would Bon Scott do? Lindisfarne Village, Lindisfarne. November 2011.
Just managed to complete the one book this week, and what a disappointment it proved to be.
Hans Keilson’s The Death of the Adversary is an odd little portrait of a nameless young man tracking an unnamed “adversary” whom he watches rise to power in an unnamed country in the 1930s. Keilson – a German Jew – wrote the book while in hiding in the Netherlands during World War Two. Interestingly, the novel itself has been lauded as a ‘lost’ masterpiece in the last few years.
Now, I shall be frank and confess that although I think that the book is a really interesting piece of history, as a literary work it seems a little uneven to me. Perhaps it is a deliberate narrative device, but the jarring (and repetitive) series of notes ruminating on the rise of Hitler, his motives, personality, as well as the nature and causes of the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism is clumsy and wooden (perhaps this might be a poor translation) and worst of all: intensely dull.
I wouldn’t bother if I were you.