Friday, August 12, 2011

How to be by yourself in a furnished room with chipped dishes

So they have courses teaching you foreign languages and ballroom dancing and etiquette and cooking. But there are no classes to learn how to be by yourself in a furnished room with chipped dishes, or how to be alone in general without any words of concern or familiar sounds.

— from The Artificial Silk Girl, by Irmgard Keun.

I'm almost done this short novel, and I have her After Midnight lined up to read soon.

For a little bit about Keun, her books, and the climate in which they were written, see:

Deutsche Welle: "But Keun's "The Artificial Silk Girl" is more than just a diary of dancing and dalliances. It also contains subtle but scathing commentaries about life under the rising Third Reich."

Melville House Publishing: "Much fiction has been written about the Nazis in the years since World War II, but it is incredibly rare to have a novelist of Keun’s talents and first-hand knowledge describe the day-to-day reality of an evil empire while it was still in power."

The Millions: "She was a best-selling debut novelist at twenty-six, published a second bestseller a year later, was blacklisted by the Nazi regime and in exile by the spring of 1936."

Sarah Blogwell's Bake: "She observes all: an eternally na├»ve narrator who misunderstands what is going on, but who — of course — really understands more than anyone."

1 comment:

Bellezza said...

What a very powerful quote. I've read it over several times, and I'm struck by the simplicity that says what I've often felt with a greater clarity than I could ever put it.